Tom Wolf, Governor Leslie S. Richards, Secretary, Department of Transportation

Important Information Regarding Acts 152 and 229

Two acts (Acts 152 and 229) affecting PennDOTís Driver and Vehicle Services were enacted by the General Assembly in December 2002. The provisions of these acts change many of PennDOTís motor vehicle and driver licensing procedures, implement added safety and security measures and increase penalties for driving irresponsibly. The following list outlines components of both Acts and the changes that impact customers. We encourage you to share this information.

Act 152

Commercial Driver Learnerís (CDL) Permit. Requires a person to hold a commercial learnerís permit for at least 30 days before the skills test can be taken. This provides time for the driver to practice skills necessary to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.
-Effective February 7, 2003.

Zero Tolerance for Commercial and School Vehicle Drivers Operating with Any Alcohol in System provides a new disqualification for school vehicle drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Reduces the Blood Alcohol Content threshold for school bus drivers from .04% to .02%. School vehicle drivers are also included in the zero tolerance for alcohol use requirement. Addresses a critical safety issue by ensuring that school bus and school vehicle drivers who operate under the influence of alcohol are subject to severe penalties (i.e. a one year disqualification for a first offense, and a lifetime disqualification for a second offense).
-Effective February 7, 2003.

Motorcycles. Eliminates the requirement that motorcycle handlebars not exceed the shoulder height of the driver. Also requires motorcyclists to drive with their headlights on. The headlight requirement increases the visibility of motorcyclists.
-Effective April 6, 2003.

Homeland Security Provisions. The importance of improving the security of the licensing process was apparent on September 11, 2001. To ensure that other DMVs are able to determine when to screen for legal presence, PennDOT may place a non-citizen indicator on the license. Issuance of driversí licenses to non-U.S. citizens requires PennDOT to verify 1) one-year legal presence in the United States through INS documents and 2) the driverís license expiration date is concurrent with the expiration date on the INS credentials. Provides PennDOT with the authority to invalidate Pennsylvania driversí licenses when drivers move out of state. Provides funding for these security enhancements. The annual fee for a driverís license increases from $5 to $5.25. Commercial drivers with hazardous materials endorsements will pay an additional $10 for issuance or renewal of their commercial driverís license.
-Residency and fee increases effective April 6, 2003.
-INS expiration & non-citizen indicator changes effective September 5, 2003.

Financial Responsibility. Provides the Department the authority to suspend driver licenses/vehicle registrations, as appropriate, upon receipt of notices from insurance companies indicating a cancellation, termination and/or lapse of insurance.
-Effective February 7, 2003.

Clarification of definitions and processes for flood, reconstructed, recovered theft, theft, modified, salvage and non-repairable vehicles. Provides better consumer protection by requiring the use of branding on certificate of titles and consistent processing requirements.
-Effective February 7, 2003.

40-hour Requirement for Inspection Stations. Requires that PennDOT promulgate regulations that provide a waiver of the 40-hour (Monday thru Friday) requirement that an inspection station must be open for business and requires, at a minimum, that a station be open for business at least 20 hours of which at least 10 business hours must be during a normal Monday through Friday workweek (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.). The provision provides an opportunity to address changes in business practices of longer and less traditional hours of operation to address customer needs.
-Effective February 7, 2003.

Abandoned Vehicles. Provides additional report, notice and requirements for abandoned vehicles. Changes in penalties and payment costs to salvor and PennDOT are also included. These changes provide further clarification of abandoned vehicle requirements that address the salvors, police departments and PennDOT.
-Effective February 7, 2003.

Changes to messenger services. Provides PennDOT authority to enter into contracts for messenger and agent services. Those contracts will take the place of regulatory requirements currently used. PennDOT will be given more discretion to deal with messenger and agent services that have committed illegal or unethical business practices that impact on title, registration and driver licensing processes in a more timely and efficient manner.
-Effective December 9, 2004.

Act 229

New restrictions for Occupational Limited Licenses. Prohibits issuance of Occupational Limited Licenses to drivers convicted of homicide by vehicle and other serious traffic offenses in Chapter 37 Subchapter B, as well as all Subchapter C, convictions relating to accidents and accident reports (e.g., duty to give information and render aid, accidents involving damage to unattended vehicles or property, etc.). Ensures high-risk drivers convicted of very serious offenses are not authorized to drive while serving a suspension or revocation.
-Effective February 21, 2003.

Licensing Restriction for CDL drivers. Prohibits the issuance of Commercial Driver Occupational Limited (OLL) Licenses. Ensures high-risk drivers are not authorized to drive a commercial vehicle while serving a suspension of revocation, regardless of whether or not the violations occurred in a commercial vehicle. Brings Pennsylvania law into compliance with Federal law.
-Effective February 21, 2003. NOTE: PennDOT currently complies with Federal requirement.

New Restriction for Probationary License. Prohibits the issuance of a Probationary License to drivers convicted within seven years of an accident involving death, personal injury while not properly licensed, or aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence. Ensures high-risk drivers are not permitted to drive.
Effective February 21, 2003.

Increased alcohol and controlled substance testing. Requires that drivers of motor carrier vehicles, buses, school buses or vehicles transporting hazardous materials must submit to testing for alcohol and controlled substances, if involved in a reportable accident. The cost is borne by the driversí employer. In an effort to get dangerous drivers off the road, it ensures that drivers are screened for DUI when an accident occurs.
-Effective February 21, 2003.

Lighted headlamps in signed work zones. All drivers are required to have lighted headlamps in signed work zones. This provision ensures increased visibility of vehicles in work zones, and enhanced driver awareness of the work zones.
-Effective February 21, 2003.

Motor Carrier Definition, Inspection Self-certification and Registration Sanctioning. A motor carrier vehicle is now defined as a vehicle, 10,001 lbs. or more and used in interstate commerce. At the time of renewal, motor carrier vehicles are now required to include a self-certification of vehicle safety inspection. Includes authority for PennDOT to develop an audit process to validate self-certification compliance. Provides for a three-month vehicle registration suspension when determined a renewed vehicle did not have a currently valid safety inspection. Will support proper vehicle safety inspection requirements for motor carrier vehicles. Additional information and instructions will be distributed closer to the effective date.
-Effective June 23, 2003.

New suspensions. Provides a 15-day suspension for drivers convicted of speeding in an active work zone if PennDOT also receives an accident report, or when the driver exceeds the speed limit by 11 miles per hour or more. More stringent penalties for speeding in active work zones will encourage drivers to slow down.
-Effective June 23, 2003.

Defines highway safety corridors. CDL drivers who violate Section 3326 (relating to duty of drivers in construction or maintenance areas) receive the same serious traffic offense penalties when the violation occurs on highway safety corridors. Recognizes the importance of safe driving on high-risk roadways.
-Effective June 23, 2003.

Child Restraint Systems. Drivers of a passenger car, class I or class II truck, classic motor vehicle, antique motor vehicle, or motor home who transport children, 4 years of age or older, but less than 8 must fasten the child securely in a safety seat system and an appropriate fitting child booster seat. Drivers are also responsible for ensuring that all occupants age 8 and older but under age 18 are wearing a safety belt when riding anywhere in the vehicle. This also applies to school vehicles.
-Effective February 21, 2003.

In addition to the legislative changes mentioned above and as a reminder, in October 2002, Act 123 was signed into law by the Governor that increased the fine for passing a stopped school bus from $100 to $250. This law became effective October 4, 2002.

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