CONTACT: Ann Collis
House Democratic Communications Office
Phone: 717-787-7895
Fax: 717-783-6839

State Rep. Neal Goodman



New Pa. law: In rain or snow, better let your headlights glow

Goodman amendment makes it easier for drivers to comply


HARRISBURG, Dec. 8 – Beginning with the new year in January, if it’s raining, drivers in Pennsylvania will have to turn on their headlights, and the new law includes an amendment by state Rep. Neal P. Goodman, D-Schuylkill, that makes it easier for drivers to comply.


The law, Act 159 of 2006, was enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell last month. As it made its way through the legislature, it originally required the use of headlamps when visibility on the highway was below 1,000 feet. Goodman felt the distance requirement was too open to interpretation and successfully amended the bill.


Because of Goodman’s amendment, the new law requires headlights to be on when the vehicle’s windshield wipers are in continuous or intermittent use because of precipitation or atmospheric moisture, which includes rain, snow, sleet or mist.


“It’s hard for people to estimate with the naked eye what 1,000 feet is,” Goodman said. “Who can look out and tell the difference between visibility of 600 feet and 1000 feet? By making the law more clear, the likelihood that people will turn on their lights drastically increases. If you have your wipers on, your headlights should also be on.”


Goodman said he believed the new law would greatly increase vehicular safety.


“This is a safety issue more than anything else,” he said. “In potentially treacherous conditions, it’s common sense to make your vehicle as visible as possible. If you are driving down a highway, you are more likely to see a car if its headlights are on.”

Goodman said he hoped people would become aware of the new law through media attention and warnings from local police.