New Law PA Will Improve Ability To Obtain ID, Update CDL License Requirements

On January 6, PennDOT said that a new state law will provide opportunities that will give Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness the ability to be issued a free identification card and Pennsylvanians with visual impairments improved access to obtain a driver’s license and will help improve roadway safety through updated commercial driver’s license requirements.

Act 131 of 2020, which Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed into law, makes it possible for Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness to be issued a free initial photo ID or renewal.

Individuals will be required to apply in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center and must meet identification and other requirements. Additional information can be found on the Driver and Vehicle Services website. This section of the law is effective January 25, 2021.

Additionally, Act 131 provides for a safe program that will allow eligible individuals to use bioptic telescope lenses to help them to qualify for and obtain a driver’s license.

Bioptic telescope lenses are authorized for use in at least 28 other states and are designed to help individuals meet visual acuity standards who otherwise wouldn’t be able to obtain a license.

PennDOT is currently developing the program’s training and licensure process and will implement the program on the effective date of this section of the legislation, which is September 27, 2021.

Act 131 will also update requirements and restrictions for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, including reporting requirements for convictions and violations.

In addition, this law will also bring Pennsylvania into compliance with upcoming federal CDL regulations, which will include a lifetime disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for human trafficking convictions.

These sections of the law will become effective on various dates starting in early 2021.

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