New teen driving requirements take effect in Pa.

PHILADELPHIA - December 27, 2011

The bill was passed in an effort to save lives, with supporters citing a recent state study that showed fatal crashes involving 16- or 17-year-old drivers increasing from 40 in 2009 to 57 last year. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill Oct. 25 after both chambers of the Legislature approved it overwhelmingly.

For the first six months after receiving a junior driver's license, the driver is not allowed to transport more than one passenger under 18 who is not an immediate family member unless a parent or legal guardian is in the vehicle.

If a junior driver has not been convicted of a driving violation or been responsible for a crash, then after six months, he or she can transport up to three passengers under 18 who are not immediate family members without a parent or legal guardian in the car.

It also increases the amount of behind-the-wheel training required for young drivers. They now must have 65 hours of behind-the-wheel practice - up from 50 hours. Ten hours of the time must be clocked at night and five hours must be during bad weather.

In addition, the new law makes failure to wear proper restraints a primary offense, so police can stop drivers under age 18 if they or their passengers are not wearing seatbelts, booster seats or similar equipment. Violations carry a $75 fine.

Teens can get a junior license starting at age 16.

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