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District Offices
Lehigh County Office
Star Plaza, Suite 302
6299 Route 309
New Tripoli, PA 18066
(610) 760-7082
M-F 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Capitol Office
113 Ryan Office Building
PO Box 202187
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2187
Phone: (717) 787-3017
Fax: (717) 705-1951

Be Safe Traveling This Summer
6/27/2011

By Rep. Gary Day (R-Berks/Lehigh) 

With school out for the summer, many families are packing up for their annual vacations or are staying close with “staycations.” While summer vacations are a time of enjoyment and relaxation spent with family and friends, travelers should keep in mind many state laws designed to help keep them safe, whether traveling locally or on the interstates. 

While on the highways, please be sure to be buckled up. State law requires all passengers to wear their seat belts, and children under the age of 4 must be securely fastened in a federally approved car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for the child’s age, height and weight. Children ages 4 to 8 must use a booster seat if they are no longer in a car seat.  

State police also remind residents that most child safety seats are not properly installed. According to State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, more than three-quarters of the 319 child passenger safety seats inspected by state troopers during a two-week enforcement effort recently were found to be improperly installed. Free safety checks are available at most state police barracks on a monthly basis, by appointment.  

While wearing seatbelts has proven to save lives, another dangerous activity has been that of texting and other distractions. A study by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute revealed that those who resort to texting while driving are 23 times more likely to meet with an accident. And another report by the National Safety Council found that 28 percent of car crashes are caused by talking or texting while driving. 

Thirty-three states already have laws on the books to ban the practice. Please know neighboring states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, have the ban in effect. 

Texting isn’t the only distraction that has proven to be dangerous. Talking on a cell phone; eating or drinking behind the wheel; applying make-up or using personal grooming devices; or having too many young passengers in a vehicle driven by a young driver have all led to serious – and even deadly – crashes. 

In the state House, we are working to improve our laws to address distractions behind the wheel. House Bill 9 would prohibit texting, and House Bill 896 aims to reduce distractions while driving, such as talking on a cell phone, sending text messages or emailing, using a personal grooming device while driving, eating, drinking or reading any printed material. House Bill 9 is on the Senate calendar and House Bill 896 is under consideration by the state Senate. 

While on the road, motorists should also be mindful of emergency vehicles along the shoulder. Pennsylvania has a “Steer Clear” law that requires drivers to move over or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop or disabled vehicle.  

In addition, state law requires motorists to turn on headlights when traveling through an active work zone or when the windshield wipers are in continuous motion. 

As always, motorists should not drink and drive, and should be cognizant of any medications so that they are not impaired. Drivers should also take frequent breaks to avoid becoming drowsy behind the wheel. 

All of these measures, whether currently in law, proposed as legislation or just are common sense, are designed to help keep Pennsylvania’s roads and highways as safe as possible. 

For more information about installing safety seats, for free safety checks or for other rules of the road, visit the state police website at www.psp.state.pa.us.  

State Representative Gary Day
187th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Jennifer Keaton
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
717.705.2094
RepGaryDay.com
Facebook.com/RepGaryDay

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