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Pennsylvania Motorist Information


The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Discuss Pennsylvania motorists issues in the NMA Forum

Points of Interest

  • Local units of government are not permitted to use RADAR for speed enforcement.
  • RADAR must be operated in a stationary mode.
  • A RADAR-based ticket cannot be issued for speeds less than 10 mph over the speed limit on roads posted below 55 mph or speeds less than 6 mph over the speed limit on roads posted at 55 mph or higher.
  • Pennsylvania motorists with ENRADD-based tickets may benefit from Earle Drack's analysis of ENRADD reliability issues discussed here.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 65, Trucks 65
Urban Interstates: Cars 55, Trucks 55
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 65, Trucks 65
(http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/speedlimit_laws.html)

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute--exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: Yes
Automated Speed Enforcement: Yes
Aircraft: Yes
Laser: No

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed
No

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: No
Parking: No
Equipment: No
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact
Yes

Member of Driver License Compact
Yes

When and Where to File Accident Reports
Accidents involving death, personal injury, or the inability of a vehicle to be moved under its own power and requiring towing, must be reported immediately to the local authorities and (if the accident is not investigated by the authorities) within 5 days to the Center for Highway Safety, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Tort Option Coverage: Full vs. Limited (determines your ability to sue for pain and suffering if in accident)
Minimum Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per occurrence
Minimum Property Damage Liability Coverage: Varies - see your insurance representative
Required Medical Expense Benefits Coverage: $5,000 of coverage for medical expenses.

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: Local option
All Cell Phone Ban: No
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary: for texting by all drivers
http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx

Other Regulations

  • The BAC level is .08 percent.
  • Pennsylvania has an administrative suspension law and an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 1-year driver's license suspension.
  • Handguns must be transported in a securely locked and unloaded fashion in the vehicle trunk or rear storage area unless one possesses a valid state permit; rifles and shotguns must be unloaded and should be cased.
  • Studded tires are permitted from November 1 to April 15.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • Pennsylvania has a seat belt law with secondary enforcement for all front seat occupants.
  • Pennsylvania has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 5 years of age, requiring the use of approved car safety seats.
  • Pennsylvania has a mandatory motorcycle helmet law. This has been lifted for adults 21 and older who have either taken a motorcycle class or have 3 years experience.
  • Registration and insurance card must be carried in the vehicle.

General Information
Telephone: 717/783-5599 (State Police HQ) or contact the court for your particular ticket
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: *11 or 911

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These pages are created and managed by the volunteer efforts of NMA Activists, State Chapter Coordinators and members.

If your state doesn't currently have anyone serving in these roles, perhaps you'd like to consider it.


When you see a police car on the side of the road, it should make you feel more safe.
So why doesn't it?

Across the United States, even the most careful, safe drivers on the road would probably admit to being nervous when they spot a police officer enforcing traffic laws. Instead of inspiring feelings of safety, our traffic laws are used to create fear. Can this ever change?


This page was last updated: August 2010







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