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Published on Jan 18, 2010 by Edgar Snyder

Pennsylvania Has Sixth Worst Driver Safety Laws

Pennsylvania driver safety

Think our roadways are safe? Think again – Pennsylvania has the sixth worst driver safety legislation in the country, according to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Pennsylvania has enacted fewer than half of the 15 model laws that the advocacy group considers essential to safe driving. Eight other states, including Ohio, fall into the same category. Among the state's legislative shortcomings cited by the report are:

  • Failure to ban texting while driving.
  • Failure to make not using a seat belt a "primary" offense. Currently, you can only get cited for seat belt nonuse if you are pulled over for some other violation first.
  • Lack of a motorcycle helmet requirement for all riders, regardless of age.
  • Deficient restrictions on junior drivers. Right now state law only limits the number of nonfamily teen passengers travelling with a junior driver to the number of seat belts in the car. Many states and the report model agree that the number should be limited to just one teen passenger.
  • An insufficient booster seat law. While the state currently meets the model criteria that children under eight are required to use booster seats or car seats, the law, like the seat belt provision, makes violations only secondary offenses.
  • Lack of more strict laws for drunk drivers. The model criteria features states that require all DUI offenders' vehicles have ignition interlock devices, which test a driver's breath for alcohol before allowing the vehicle to be operated.

About 40,000 people are killed in traffic accidents each year, and safety advocates insist that many of those deaths are preventable. PA lawmakers say there is legislation pending on several of the cited issues, such as texting while driving, which passed in the Senate but has not yet been voted on by the House.

Source: "Pennsylvania lags on highway safety rules, report says." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 12, 2010.
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