Before the end of 2011, Governor Corbett signed into law Act 81 which changed some of the requirements and obligations for young drivers and the issuance of junior licenses. Most notably, under the prior law, before a junior license could be issued, a junior driver had to log at least 50 hours of experience behind the wheel. The new amendments that took effect on December 27, 2011 require a junior driver to now log 65 hours behind the wheel. This time must now include 10 hours of nighttime driving and 5 hours of driving during inclement weather. The junior driver’s parent or legal guardian must file an appropriate certification verifying that the required hours have been completed prior to the issuance of a junior license.

In addition to increasing the required experience behind the wheel, the new law also places additional restrictions on a junior driver’s ability to transport certain passengers. Initially, during the first six months after the issuance of the junior license, a junior driver is not permitted to drive with more than one unrelated minor in the vehicle unless the junior driver is accompanied by her parent or legal guardian. After driving for six months without an accident or violation, the junior driver is then able to transport not more than three unrelated minors in her vehicle. The new law also places additional restrictions on the number of passengers if the junior driver has been in a reportable accident in which she was found to be at fault. While all drivers and passengers must comply with the seatbelt requirements, the new amendments now make the failure of a junior driver to wear a seatbelt a primary offense permitting the officer to stop the vehicle for that offense alone.

This article is for general information only and is not intended as or a substitute for legal advice. Should you have a question about this topic please contact attorney Dean E. Reynosa of Saidis, Sullivan & Rogers. The attorneys at Saidis, Sullivan & Rogers are skilled in a variety of practice areas, including driver licensing issues, criminal defense, personal injury, estate planning, business, real estate and family law. To learn more about Saidis, Sullivan & Rogers and their attorneys visit us at www.ssr-attorneys.com.