– Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Montgomery/Chester), to prevent dangerous driving and improve highway safety, received unanimous approval in the General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf today.
House Bill 1958
will require PennDOT to create a mandatory driver improvement program for drivers who accumulate six points or more on their licenses. The driver improvement program is designed to create behavioral change in dangerous drivers and improve highway safety. The Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code currently has an optional driver training provision, but it has never been instituted by PennDOT. Hennessey’s bill will make it mandatory.
“Mandatory driver retraining programs in other states have been successful in improving the driving skills of chronic offenders and reducing their rates of recidivism,” said Hennessey, who chairs the House Transportation Committee. “Better drivers mean safer roads and fewer highway deaths and injuries.”
Under Hennessey’s bill, this program would be required as a way to reduce points from a driver’s record when they reach six points, and when a driver is convicted of exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 miles per hour. The course would also be required when applying for an Occupational Limited License and Probationary License and would be a condition for license reinstatement following suspension due to point accumulation or excessive speeding.
In 2020, PennDOT reported 1,129 motor vehicle-related fatalities despite a significant reduction in vehicle miles traveled in the pandemic. Because most of these crashes were caused by driver behavior, the training course required under House Bill 1958 would employ established and effective strategies to change the decision-making processes of traffic offenders and move them to make better driving choices.
With today’s bill signing, PennDOT is now tasked with developing a program that will become effective in 14 months.
Representative Tim Hennessey
26th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham