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Pennsylvania Traffic Laws

Driving responsibly is more than just knowing basic driving rules. Safe drivers are familiar with state and local traffic laws and are prepared to drive defensively if needed. You should also know any additional ordinances specific to certain municipalities. Driving in busy cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh comes with some extra rules.

Whether you're a local or a visitor, the laws and resources in this article will help keep you and other Pennsylvania motorists, passengers, and pedestrians safe. It can also help you avoid a traffic stop by local law enforcement.

Find a refresher on the state's rules of the road with the Pennsylvania Driver's Manual.

Title 75. Vehicles of Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Pa.C.S) outlines the specifics of the state's traffic laws.

The manuals and vehicle code above go in-depth on several topics, including:

  • Basic rules of the road, like who has the right-of-way, overtaking vehicles, left turns, and passing on the right
  • Maximum speed limits for varying roadways and allowable speed enforcement methods
  • Special rules for construction work zones, railroad crossings, and school zones
  • Crossing paths with an authorized emergency vehicle or school bus
  • Traffic control devices and signals like stop lights, yield signs, stop signs, and crosswalk signals
  • Serious traffic offenses like driving under the influence (DUI) and careless driving
  • Required vehicle equipment such as headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and license plates
  • Restrictions on using cell phones and other wireless communication devices while driving

Classification of Pennsylvania Traffic Offenses

Most violations in Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Code are summary offenses. These are the state's most minor offenses and usually don't require a court appearance. Some common summary offenses in the Keystone State include:

  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Illegal lane change

Some traffic offenses are more serious and carious steeper penalties and consequences. These are classified as misdemeanors and include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Reckless driving
  • Fleeing or eluding a police officer

The specifics of the violation and your driving record can also affect the offense classification.

Resources for Pennsylvania Motorists

The Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles vehicle registration, driver's license issuance and renewals, and vehicle titles.

Drivers can visit the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) website for travel information, construction updates, and more. The 511PA section of the site provides real-time road condition updates and weather alerts.

The Traffic Laws section of the PennDOT site contains visual graphics for common traffic laws. You can also find videos from the Pennsylvania State Police explaining lesser-known traffic laws.

Table of Pennsylvania Traffic Laws

Find the specific laws for several common traffic regulations and violations below.

Drinking & Driving Violations Driving After Imbibing Alcohol or Utilizing Drugs (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 38)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License Licensing of Drivers: Violations (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 15, Subchapter C)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Financial Responsibility: Proof of Financial Responsibility (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 17, Subchapter H)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Registration of Vehicles: Violations and Suspensions (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 13, Subchapter C)
Illegal U-Turn Limitations on turning around (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 33, Subchapter C, Section 3332)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run Miscellaneous Provisions: Accidents and Accident Reports (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 37, Subchapter C)
Mechanical Violations Promulgation of vehicle equipment standards (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 41, Section 4103) Lighting Equipment (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 43) General requirements for braking systems (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 45, Subchapter A, Section 4502)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 37, Subchapter B, Section 3736) Careless driving (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 37, Subchapter A, Section 3714)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Traffic-control signals (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 31, Subchapter B, Section 3112) Obedience to traffic-control devices (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 31, Subchapter B, Section 3111) Flashing signals (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 31, Subchapter B, Section 3114)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Restraint systems(PA Vehicle Code Ch. 45, Subchapter E, Section 4581)
Speeding Rules of the Road: Speed Restrictions (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 33, Subchapter F)
Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Unlawful activities (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 41, Section 4107)General lighting requirements (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 43, Section 3403) Exhaust systems, mufflers, and noise control(PA Vehicle Code Ch. 45, Subchapter B, Section 4523)


Pulled Over and Cited for a Traffic Violation? Get Legal Help

If you have been ticketed for a Pennsylvania traffic violation, you can contact a traffic ticket attorney in your area for legal advice.

A local attorney can review the circumstances of your citation and state laws to ensure the issuing police officer acted within the law. Getting even a summary offense dismissed can save you a fine, increased auto insurance costs, and points on your driving record.

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