New Teen Driver Law Takes Effect

Representative Katharine Watson

Pennsylvania’s new teen driver law took on Tuesday, December 27th and the state representative who fought for the changes believes it will make a difference.   

Representative Kathy Watson (R-Bucks) says studies show the greatest distraction for a new teen driver is other teens in the vehicle.   Under the changes, junior drivers will not be able to carry more than one passenger under age 18 who’s not an immediate family member for the first six months that they’re licensed. 

The law also makes seatbelt use a primary offense for junior drivers and passengers under age 18 and requires an additional 15 hours of supervised training, including night and poor weather driving.

Representative Watson says the more practice you have in different situations for that young driver, the more competent they will become.

Representative Watson worked for six years to get the changes in the law. She says it will give parents additional tools to help keep their young drivers safe. She says it also sends teens a message that a police officer could stop them, and issue a warning or a ticket, if they don’t buckle up or if they carry too many passengers.

Representative Watson says the bill includes a review provision.  In two years, they’ll look at the impact of the changes and see if additional steps must be taken.

Representative Watson says “we can’t design a law that will bring every young person home safely, but we’re starting a law that can bring more of them home safely.”  She says they’ll also review it to see if there’s more they can do.