The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the State Police are using Highway Safety Law Awareness Week, which runs through Sunday, February 25, to alert drivers of some lesser known safety laws. PennDOT and the State Police are urging drivers to review and obey driver safety laws that may not be well known among the public.
“Highway Safety Law Awareness week is an opportunity to raise public awareness on various ways to increase public safety,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richard. “This year, we’re raising awareness through education, social media and outreach with our safety partners, like the Pennsylvania State Police, in hope that it creates behavioral change.”
Here are some safety laws that some drivers may not be aware of and should review:
- Pennsylvania’s “Blind Pedestrians” law mandates that the driver of a vehicle yield the right of way to any totally or partially blind pedestrian carrying a visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog. The driver of the vehicle shall take any precaution necessary, including bringing the vehicle to a stop, to avoid injuring or endangering the pedestrian. This is a summary offense and in punishable by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $150.
- “Prohibiting Use of Hearing Impairment Devices” law prohibits any driver from wearing headphones while behind the wheel. This section does not prohibit the use of a headset in conjunction with a cellphone which provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other. Wearing headphones while behind the wheel limits the driver’s ability to hear sirens belonging to emergency responders.
- Title 75, Section 3112 under “Traffic Control Signals,” dictates laws surrounding traffic lights. As part of a 2016 amendment, the law includes instruction on what can be done if a driver believes the traffic light is not functioning properly. This includes when the light’s “sensor” does not detect the vehicle. In this case, drivers are instructed to stop in the same manner as a stop sign and can proceed when it is safe to do so.
- The “Unattended Motor Vehicle” law limits where a vehicle can be left running and unattended. The law states that a person cannot leave a vehicle unattended while the engine is running or while the key is in the ignition. The law, however, does not apply to private property such as private driveways.
In addition to educating drivers about lesser-known regulations, the agencies hope that raising awareness during this safety week also serves as a reminder to all drivers and occupants of a motor vehicle to buckle up and not drive impaired or distracted.