EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — With a New Year comes new laws for Pennsylvanians. A handful of those new laws take effect Monday, January 2. From legalizing the testing of driverless vehicles, to decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips.
Multiple new laws are already in effect and many of them are a part of the 66 bills signed by Governor Tom Wolf in November as he prepares to leave office this month.
Pennsylvanians who use the Turnpike better pay up or face penalties.
The Turnpike Commission now has the power to crack down on drivers who don’t pay their tolls.
Starting January 2, drivers will be notified their vehicle registration could be suspended if they owe at least four tolls or more than $250 in unpaid dues.
Though there are still some challenges, the new law does not cover out-of-state drivers.
“The consequences just aren’t the same in all states and we are trying to work through that. In some cases these agreements may require some type of legislative approval from those other states,” said Carl DeFebo, Spokesperson for the PA Turnpike Commission.
Officials hope the new law will help them recover more than 100 million dollars in uncollected tolls.
Also, this year you’ll see changes on the road, specifically, behind the wheel. Driverless vehicle testing is now permitted across the commonwealth.
Another big change this month, a new law makes fentanyl testing strips legal. The strips can detect fentanyl in other drugs to prevent deadly overdoses.
“Drug checking is the way to keep us safe right now, and we need to do anything to minimize the risk of death,” Co-Founder of the PA Harm Reduction Network, said Carla Sofronski.
Also, a new law allows 17-year-olds to enter burning buildings as part of junior firefighting training.
The hope is to turn around the significant decrease in the number of volunteer firefighters.
This will allow junior firefighters to become full-fledged members of a firehouse as soon as they become 18.
Another new law requires state agencies, their contractors, and local governments to notify victims of a data breach within seven days if personally identifiable information was involved.