Tougher rules for teenage drivers were signed into law in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, while state lawmakers amended a bill to ban texting by all drivers and give police the power to pull people over for it.
The teen driving bill, enacted by Gov. Tom Corbett at a high school ceremony, limits how many passengers they can carry and increases the number of hours of behind-the-wheel experienced required for a junior license.
The new law makes failure to wear proper restraints a primary offense, so police can stop drivers under age 18 if they or their passengers are not wearing seatbelts, booster seats or similar equipment. Violations carry a $75 fine.
Inside the state Capitol, the House amended a ban on texting-while-driving to make it a primary offense, so police can pull people over for suspected violations. All Democrats and about a third of Republicans voted for it.
“We’ve seen over the years a proliferation of these electronic devices, and a proliferation of people using them when they should be doing something else,” said Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny. “And particularly, they should be paying attention where they’re going with a 4,000-pound weapon, which is an automobile.”
A separate amendment, which would have outlawed the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, was defeated by majority Republicans on a nearly party-line vote.
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