The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has enacted several safety laws to keep you safe while you are on the road. These laws include DUIs, cell phone laws, child safety seats laws, seat belt laws and several others.
Child Car Seat Laws
The state requires you to ensure that your children ride in child safety seats. If you fail to comply with this law, then you will face a fine of up to $75. These are some basics of this law:
- Children younger than 4 years old should ride in a federally approved child car seat.
- Children between 4 years old and 8 years old should use booster seats until they outgrow the seat.
Manufacturers provide instructions on child car seat installation.
Seat Belt Laws in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, all front car occupants must wear seat belts when the vehicle is in motion. Also, the state requires all car occupants between 8 years and 18 years to wear seat belts regardless of where they sit. If anyone fails to comply with above law, you as the driver will face the following penalties:
- Passengers between 4 years old and 8 years old: $75 fine plus court fees.
- Passengers between 8 years old and 18 years old: $10 fine plus court fees.
Cell Phone Laws
In Pennsylvania, the law bans the use of any mobile device to send or receive texts, email or send messages of any kind while driving. If you are caught violating this law, you will face a fine of up to $50. In Pennsylvania, it is not illegal to make phone calls while driving on public roads or streets. However, if you must make a call you should:
- Use a hands-free mobile device.
- Pull off the road whenever possible.
- Never engage in emotionally heated conversations.
Helmet Laws in Pennsylvania
All motorcycle riders younger than 21 years old must wear helmets while riding on state roads. If you are younger than 21 years old, you will be exempted from this requirement if you have held a motorcycle license for at least 2 years or have successfully completed an approved motorcycle safety course. If you are caught violating the helmet law, you will face a $25 fine. A motorcycle helmet must be approved by the Pennsylvania DOT and have a DOT sticker on it. Additionally, a motorcycle helmet must contain the following information:
- Model name and number.
- The name or ID of the manufacturer.
- Month and year of manufacture.
All bicycle riders younger than 12 years old must wear helmets while riding. Any parent whose child is caught riding without a proper helmet will face a fine of up to $25. Your fine can be waived if you show proof of helmet purchase before your court case. While wearing helmets is not a requirement for every rider, the PennDOT strongly recommends riders to wear an approved helmet to protect them in case of accidents.
Pennsylvania DUI Laws
It is illegal if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol. If your blood alcohol content is over .08%, you will face the following charges: You will face heavier penalties for subsequent offences. If you are younger than 21 years old and you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol (BAC of more than .02%), you will face the following penalties:
- Up to 48 hours imprisonment.
- Attendance at an alcohol safety school.
- $500-$5,000 fine.
- Drug and alcohol treatment.
Reporting Drunk Drivers
If you suspect a drunk driver, report them to the law enforcement officers. If a suspected drunk driver is driving dangerously, call 911. Some signs of drunk driving include:
- Swerving across the road.
- Excessive speeding or slowing.
- Drifting into wrong lanes.
Pennsylvania Headlight Laws
Your headlights must be on:
- Between sunset and sunrise.
- When road visibility is reduced from 1,000 feet.
- When you turn on windshield wipers.
You will face a fine of up to $25 if you receive a citation for violating headlight law.
You must turn on your motorcycle headlights at all times when you are on the road.
Your bicycle must be fitted with a front-facing white light. This light must be turned on 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise and whenever you can’t see at least 500 feet ahead. Your bicycle must also be fitted with a rear-facing red reflector which must be visible from 500 feet.
Unattended Children in Vehicles
It is illegal to leave a child unattended in a car at any time. Doing so is compromising the child’s health and safety, especially during harsh weather conditions. If you are caught violating this law, you will face a fine of up to $25.