Group Pushes for Changes to PA Driving Laws

Mar 9, 2015

Diving in Pittsburgh
Credit Creative Commons Flickr User: B.

According to the group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS),  hundreds of lives could be saved if Pennsylvania strengthened its driving laws. The comments are part of the “Lethal Loopholes” report.

“We selected 15 of the most important highway safety laws… based on research that has proven that each one of these laws saves lives and prevents injuries on the road,” said Cathy Chase, vice president of governmental affairs.

AHAS has given Pennsylvania a yellow rating, meaning that while it’s not the worst state for road safety laws, it’s not the best either.

The group suggests that Pennsylvania change seatbelt laws, because currently an officer cannot pull someone over for not wearing a seatbelt. An officer can only issue a seat belt citation if the motorist was pulled over for another reason. They believe this change could save around 140 lives.

The group urges Pennsylvania to adopt a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists, which they predict could save about 40 motorcyclists. In 2003 Pennsylvania repealed its 35-year-old helmet law.

The report also suggests that teens 10 p.m. driving curfew, instead of the 11 p.m. one now in place, and they suggest that PA do away with graduated drivers licenses that allow teens 17.5 years of age that have not gotten in a crash, or criminal trouble, and have taken a state approved behind the wheel course to obtain an unrestricted license.

The group wants to make it mandatory for all DUI offenders’ cars to be equipped with an ignition interlock device which prevents impaired drivers from starting their cars.

“Right now there is an IID bill that’s being considered in the house and senate, because right now too many people are being killed in alcohol related fatalities in Pennsylvania. 32% of those killed in crashes were drunk driving crashes,” said Chase.

AHAS also suggests that truck regulations be examined because nationally crashes involving trucks has increased by 17% in the past 4 years.  

“I know that Pittsburgh is experiencing some icy and treacherous road conditions, these laws are even more critically important to get on the books, because we’re all seeing crashes happening, and if we get these laws on the books it’s going to make the roads safer even when there [are]bad conditions,” said Chase.