Pennsylvania is home to more than 120,000 miles of roads and highways, and motorists traveled an estimated 100 billion vehicle miles on these roads last year alone. Over the past 12 months, I have supported passage of several new laws to reduce or eliminate dangers on the highways, as well as measures designed to protect motorists against costly and onerous regulations.
A new law went into effect this year that bans the use of electronic wireless devices for any form of text-based communication while driving. The ban on texting while driving is intended to curb one of the most dangerous activities for drivers in order to prevent needless tragedies, as approximately 80 percent of accidents are caused by some sort of driver distraction. A number of new laws were also approved to discourage drunk driving and ensure dangerous intoxicated drivers face stiff punishments for endangering other motorists.
The General Assembly also approved a new law that would promote safe driving among teens by allowing school districts to contract with private driver training schools for classroom instruction. Coupled with a law that went into effect earlier this year to limit the number of passengers allowed in vehicles operated by junior drivers, this new requirement will ensure young drivers can be put in the best position to avoid serious accidents on our highways.
In addition to protecting safety on the roadways, the General Assembly also took action to ensure motorists get what they pay for at the gas pump. A new law will require the Department of Agriculture to begin random testing of octane levels at retail gas pumps across the state. The requirement will help consumers avoid damaging their vehicles with low-quality fuel.
I also supported passage of legislation that would exclude most newer vehicles from emissions testing. Vehicles that are less than 10 years old rarely fail to meet emissions standards, so the testing requirement only adds another expense for motorists who drive these vehicles. The bill would have exempted all vehicles 10 years old or newer from emissions testing. Although this bill was not signed into law prior to the end of the legislative session, the broad bipartisan support for this measure in the Senate is a strong step toward this proposal finally reaching the governor’s desk in 2013.
List of Local Charitable Opportunities Available Online
Throughout my time as an elected official, I have been extremely impressed with the generous nature of local residents when they are given an opportunity to help their friends and neighbors in the community. The United Way of Lancaster County has compiled a list of charitable opportunities available to benefit families in our area. The information is available on the organization’s website at www.uwlanc.org.
By clicking on the “211” tab under the “Our Work” heading, website visitors can access information on holiday giving opportunities. The website offers a wealth of information for individuals who would like to donate time, money, food or gifts to the local programs and services that benefit families in need.
More information on charitable opportunities available in our area is available by visiting www.uwlanc.org or by calling 211 or 717-291-5462. I hope this resource allows more needy families to have a brighter holiday season this year.
For more information on issues of importance to Lancaster and Chester County residents, please visit my website at senatorbrubaker.com.