16 and 17 year-olds are now required to attend a safety course before receiving their motorcycle licenses. This is in addition to passing a basic motorcycle knowledge exam and an operating skills test.
Act 84 was signed by Governor Corbett on July 2nd and took effect last Friday. It requires minors to complete the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program’s Basic Rider Course before they can test for their license.
Jan McKnight, spokesperson for the PennDOT Safety Administration, said the legislation is part of a push to enact Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) laws.
“What this course will do will provide young riders with more knowledge, more practical experience on the road,” said McKnight. “And it is proven statistically, through the teen driver graduated licensing programming, that additional practice and behind the wheel skill building time is effective in reducing accidents.”
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) “Graduated licensing enables new teen drivers to gradually build up driving experience as they mature and develop on-the-road skills.” GDL programs usually introduce drivers to the road in supervised phases before they are allowed a full license.
McKnight said GDL programs have proven effective to drivers before.
“Between 1997 and 2010 the number of fatalities involving 16 year-old drivers dropped 69 percent,” said McKnight. “And the number dropped 51 percent for fatalities for 17 year-old drivers.”
She said the training program consists of 5 hours in the classroom and 10 on the course. The class is paid for using motorcycle license fees that PennDOT collects, making it free to the public.