On February 28, 2011, AAA officials joined state legislators and other safety groups at the Capitol in Harrisburg to support a new bill aimed at improving safety for teen drivers.
The new bill proposes several new laws to limit driver distraction, increase safety restraint use, and raise the number of hours teens must drive before taking the test for their driver's license.
House Bill 9, sponsored by Reps. Kathy Watson and Rick Geist, limits the number of passengers a junior driver can have to one person under the age of 18. It also requires all passengers under the age of 18 to use seat belts, regardless of where they are in the vehicle. Not wearing a seat belt becomes a primary offense, which allows police to stop teen drivers solely to check for seat belt use.
The third portion of the law increases the required training for new drivers from 50 hours to 65 hours – including five hours of driving during inclement weather and 10 hours of driving at nighttime.
Watson also has proposed a bill that bans texting while driving for teens and institutes penalties, which include fines, license penalty points, and license suspension. State representatives voted in early May on the bill for young drivers and approved it 175-21. It now goes to the Senate for approval.