Teen drivers face new limits Tuesday in Pennsylvania

Roadsign - Seatbelt

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New restrictions for teen drivers in Pennsylvania take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, not Saturday, as previously reported. “Due to a calculation error, the effective date was incorrectly reported as Dec. 24 in a Dec. 19 PennDOT news release,” an agency update states.

As of Tuesday, 16- and 17-year-old drivers will need more training, they’ll be allowed to transport fewer passengers, and not wearing a seat belt will be enough for a teen driver to get pulled over. Even their teen passengers will have to buckle up. For older drivers, failure to wear a seat belt remains a secondary offense – subject to a fine if stopped for another reason.

Permit holders under 18 will need 65 hours of hands-on training, an increase of 15 hours. “Ten of the additional hours must include driving at night and five hours must occur during poor weather conditions,” according to a news release from the state.

The number of non-family passengers under age 18 is also restricted for drivers under 18, if no parent or guardian is present. It’s just one such passenger for the first six months after getting a junior license, which is possible at age 16-1/2. Then, until the driver turns 18, it’s three passengers – if the driver has a record free of committing violations and even partly causing crashes.

Winter advice from AAA. Speaking of young drivers, AAA Mid-Atlantic has some advice for parents: Help teen learn to handle winter driving. After a snowfall, parents should “take their teenage drivers to a big empty parking lot or open space and let him or her try stopping, starting and turning as safe speeds in a safe environment.” AAA also recommends reviewing the list of do’s and dont’s of winter driving, such as fully clear the vehicle of ice and snow, go slower, stay back, keep to major roads, avoid slamming brakes, avoid changing lanes, and don’t use cruise control.

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