LAWS WHICH RAISE COMMON QUESTIONS
In an attempt to keep the people educated and aware of our ever changing legal system, we at Springfield Township Police Department would like to advise you on some of our new laws here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Since our system is always growing, we have picked a few examples we feel will raise the most questions as a result of their addition. This is not a complete list of the always changing system. Should you have questions regarding the enforcement of our laws, please feel free to contact our department. We will be glad to assist you if we can, or we will offer an appropriate resource where your questions may be answered. Our E-Mail address is listed at the bottom of our site pages.
TURN HEADLIGHTS ON WHEN WINDSHIELD WIPERS ARE IN USE
Effective January 28, 2007, drivers are required to use their headlights when windshield wipers are in continuous or intermittent use.
CHILD CAR SEAT LAW
Use of proper child car seats is important for your child's safety. Pennsylvania law requires you to have your child in an appropriate car seat, or you risk a $75 fine.
Follow these guidelines when buying a car seat for your child:
Children under 4 years old: Use a federally approved child car seat, appropriate for the height and weight of your child.
4 to 8 years old: Use a booster seat until your child reaches the height and weight maximum.
Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and height/weight restrictions for your car seat.
PA SEAT BELT LAW
In the state of PA, if you are driving or sitting in the front seat of a car, you must wear your seat belt.
If you are driving with anyone under 18 years old in the vehicle, they must wear a seat belt at all times both in the front and back seat. Failure to do so is considered a primary offense, and as the driver, you could face the following fines:
Passengers 4 to 8 years old: $75 fine plus court fees.
Passengers 8 to 18 years old: $10 fine plus court fees.
CELL PHONE LAWS
Using your cell phone while driving can be very dangerous. It is illegal in Pennsylvania to use your cell phone while driving to send or receive texts, emails, or messages of any kind.
If you are caught using your mobile device for any of the above purposes, the PA Department of Transportation will issue you a $50 fine.
It is not illegal to make phone calls while driving. However, if you must make or receive a call while driving, you should:
Pull off the road whenever possible.
Use a hands-free device.
Never participate in emotionally heated conversations.
PASSENGERS IN OPEN TRUCKS LAW
General Rule- An Open Bed Pickup truck or open flatbed truck may not be driven at a speed of more than 35 miles per hour if any person is occupying the bed of the truck.
- Such a truck may not be driven at any speed if a child less than 18 years of age is occupying the bed of the truck or trailer.
- The Child Passenger section shall not apply to the following:
- A child of a farmer who is being transported between parts of a farm or farms owned or operated by the farmer in order to perform work on the farm or farms.
- A child possessing a valid hunting license who is being transported between a hunting camp and a hunting site or between hunting sites during hunting season.
- A child who is a participant in an officially sanctioned parade, only during the course of the parade.
- A child employed to perform farm labor who is being transported between parts of a farm or farms owned or operated by the child's employer or employers.
YOUNG DRIVER LAW
In June 1999, Governor Ridge signed into law new requirements that will improve the way young drivers are licensed in Pennsylvania. A portion of the new law went into effect in August 1999. Enforcement of these life-saving requirements has been viewed as crucial to saving young lives across the Commonwealth.
Changes in the law effective August 1999 include the following:
***Learner's Permit / Junior License Holders:
- No driving restriction between the hours of 11p.m. to 5 a.m. (Previously began at midnight)
- The numbers of passengers inside the vehicle must not exceed the number of safety seat belts in the vehicle. (Previously no requirements)
Changes in the licensing program that become effective December 22, 1999, include the following:
- Learner's permit holders require a mandatory SIX months skill-building period before taking a drivers test to be eligible for a junior driver's license. (Previously 30 days)
- Supervising Adult Passenger must be a licensed driver 21 years of age or older. (Previously age 18 years of age)
- Must have certification of 50 hours behind-the-wheel driver skill building prior to becoming eligible for a junior driver's license. (Previously no requirements)
Changes in the licensing program will also include the following:
- All drivers under 18 years of age will receive a mandatory 90 day suspension for 6-point or more accumulation or a single high-speed conviction of 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. (Previously no requirement)
- Obtaining an unrestricted license will be possible at age 17 1/2 with a crash and conviction free record for 12 months and completion of an approved driver's education course; otherwise, a full license is not possible until age 18.
RESTRICTIONS ON ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
GENERAL RULE- It is unlawful for any person who is an operator OR an occupant in any motor vehicle to be in possession of an open alcoholic beverage container or to consume any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance in a motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is located on any highway in this Commonwealth. This section does not prohibit possession or consumption by passengers in the passenger areas of a motor vehicle designed, maintained or used primarily for the lawful transportation of persons for compensation, including buses, taxis and limousines, or persons in the living quarters of a house coach or house trailer.
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