According to AASP-PA Executive Director Amanda Henry, “AASP-PA was pleased to see Senate Bill 288 signed by the governor. With over 40 tow operators killed annually, this bill puts us one step closer to keeping our towers (and other emergency responders) safer out there on the roads.”
Senate Bill 288 is an act that amends Section 3327(b) and (b.1)(1) of the PA Consolidated Statutes and the rules of the road in general, as well as provides for the duty of the driver in emergency response areas. Senate Bill 288 was introduced by Senators Rafferty, McGarrigle, Brewster, Yudichak, Vulakovich, Costa, Martin, Schwank, Ward, Killion and Stefano on Jan. 31, 2017.
While the Steer Clear law, which requires drivers to slow down and move into a lane not adjacent to an emergency response area, has been in effect since 2011, the number of incidents has continued to rise dramatically, with an increase of more than 85 percent from 2013-15, according to PennDot. Senate Bill 288 was passed to deter repeat offenders by increasing penalties for noncompliant drivers in addition to providing another opportunity to educate drivers on the Steer Clear law.
This new legislation served to set a maximum fine of $500 for a second offense, while a third or subsequent offense can carry a maximum fine of $1,000 as well as a 90-day license suspension. Senate Bill 288 also requires PennDOT to produce an annual report containing data on these offenses and to conduct an analysis of education efforts on the Steer Clear law.
Senate Bill 288 was a reintroduction of previous Senate Bill 1366, sponsored by Senators Yudichak, Cost, Schwank, Ward, Browne, Stefano and Brewster during the 2015-16 legislative sessions.