PennDOT, state police remind drivers of safety laws

From staff reports

HARRISBURG – PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards and State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker on Thursday urged drivers to review and obey driver safety laws that have recently been amended or passed through the state legislature.

“This year we’re educating the public about highway safety laws that were recently passed or updated and how they impact drivers,” Richards said. “We’re partnering with State Police to raise awareness through education, social media, and outreach with our safety partners.”

Ahead of the state’s Highway Safety Law Awareness Week, which runs from Feb. 19-25, the agencies advised drivers of the following updates and safety reminders:

  • The child passenger safety law update, which went into effect in August 2016, states that children are required to be buckled into a rear-facing car seat until they are age 2 or meet the maximum weight or height requirements set by the manufacturer of the seat.
  • Daniel’s Law honoring motorcyclist Daniel Gallatin, who died in 2013, was signed in January. It increases the penalty for texting while driving, resulting in serious bodily injury or death.
  • The ignition interlock law affects second or subsequent DUI offenders. It requires drivers to install an Ignition Interlock system in every car they operate or lease for more than a year. Each system costs $1000. The law will go into effect in August 2017.
  • Pedestrian safety laws at unsignalized intersections state that a driver emerging from or entering an alley, building, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk extending across the alley, building entrance, road or driveway. Failure to do so could lead to a fine and three points on the driver’s license.

It is illegal to overtake or pass a vehicle yielding to a pedestrian within a crosswalk. Pedestrians are also required to use the sidewalk and marked crosswalks where provided.

When there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk along the shoulder or the road’s edge as far away from traffic as possible and in the opposite direction of traffic.

“New laws like these are designed enhance the public’s safety on Pennsylvania’s roadways,” Blocker said. “It’s important that the public be aware of these enhancements, which can go a long way towards keeping drivers and their passengers safe while behind the wheel.”