Leaving Child Unattended in Vehicle Punishable by Law

HARRISBURG, (PRNewswire) – Governor Edward G. Rendell
today signed legislation, amending the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, to
improve the safety of motorists and protect the commonwealth’s youngest
citizens.

“Leaving a child in a vehicle unattended is unacceptable,” said
Governor Rendell. “Anything could happen within a few minutes of being left
alone. This new law works to protect our most vulnerable and it makes sure
that people understand it is not okay to leave any child in a vehicle
unattended – no matter the situation.”

Under House Bill 804, a child left unattended in a motor vehicle will
mean the driver of the vehicle will be subject to a separate offense for
each child who is abandoned.

In addition, fleeing or eluding a police officer will be upgraded to a
felony of the third degree if the person, while eluding the police officer,
crosses a state line, is driving under the influence of alcohol or a
controlled substance, or engages in a high speed chase.

The bill also provides that a motorist will avoid driving near an
emergency response area unless they are directed by an emergency service
responder to do so. If passing in a nonadjacent lane is impossible, illegal
or unsafe, motorists should pass the emergency response area carefully at a
reasonable speed.

HB 804 enacts the Department of Transportation’s electronic vehicle
titling program permanently.

Finally, the bill amends the highway occupancy permit process to allow
agricultural operations to drive on certain highways 25 times a week.
Before the enactment of the legislation, agricultural travel on these
highways was limited to 5 times per week.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Stephen R. Maitland (R-Adams/Franklin),
passed the House 192-0 and the Senate, with amendments, 42-7. The House
concurred, with additional amendments, 192-5. The Senate concurred 49-0. To
view the bill’s effective date in its entirety, visit

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/BT/2005/0/HB0804P4503.HTM.

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