Recent Legislation Supported by AAA
On Monday, April 23, 2012, OWM Law taped a program for PCTV which was a public service program (see full program here). My guests were Ted Leonard, who is the executive director of the PA AAA Federation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is a federation of all the AAA automobile clubs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Mr. Leonard acts as a proponent/ advocate for the 3,100,000 members of AAA in the Commonwealth. With Mr. Leonard was the director of public affairs of AAA East Central, East Penn Region, who is Theresa Podguski, and Theresa’s office is located in Allentown. She oversees AAA offices in Bethlehem, Lansdale and Royersford.
The thrust of the television program was the advancement of legislation regarding “distracted driving” and “teen driver crashes.” AAA supported a bill signed by Governor Tom Corbett in the fall, 2011.
With the passage of Senate Bill 314, Pennsylvania became the 35th state to outlaw text messaging by all drivers while driving. In September, 2009, AAA launched a national campaign to pass texting bans in all 50 states. Considerable progress has been made in their effort, with 16 states passing text messaging bans within the past two years.
It was discussed that text messaging while driving is extremely dangerous – because the driver takes his or her mind off the driving task, and sometimes takes his or her hands off the wheel to read, write or send a text message. Teen drivers are particularly susceptible to other distractions, like using a cell phone, personal grooming, changing the radio/cd, or talking with passengers in their vehicle. The new law will do much to deter adult and teen drivers alike, from texting behind the wheel.
The second issue that was discussed was “teen driver crashes.” AAA supported a bill that was also signed the Governor recently called “Lacey’s Law” named after Lacey Gallagher, an 18-year-old from Philadelphia, who was killed when she was a passenger in an SUV with six other teenagers. All the other teens were injured, and it was no surprise that none of the teenagers were wearing seatbelts.
Under the bill, a junior driver shall not drive a vehicle with more than one passenger under 18 years of age who is not a member of the driver’s immediate family unless the junior driver is accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian. Usually, a junior driver is one who has been driving for less than six months. After the expiration of the first six months, a junior driver shall not drive a vehicle with more than three passengers under 18 years of age who are not members of his or her immediate family unless the junior driver is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Ms. Podguski talked about a traffic safety program that AAA offers for teen drivers. It is titled “Dare to Prepare” which is a 90-minute workshop for parents and their pre-permit teens. Since crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers, AAA developed a program to help reduce teen crashes and also to help families prepare for the “learning-to-drive” process. AAA’s “Dare to Prepare” program focuses on concepts and messages that a teen may not normally receive during a traditional driver education course, such as: driving is a privilege; providing guidance to help parents and teens during the learning-to-drive process; Pennsylvania’s updated graduated driver licensing law; peer pressure; teen crash statistics; insurance coverage; and parent-teen driving arrangements/agreements.
On June 21, 2012, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., AAA is sponsoring a Dare to Prepare workshop scheduled in the Royersford AAA store at 70 Buckwalter Road, Royersford, Pennsylvania. More information may be obtained on this workshop by calling the Royersford office at 610-323-6300.
Ms. Podguski also talked about the AAA safe driving program for mature operators for those drivers who are 55 years of age and over. It is an 8-hour class broken down into two 4-hour sessions. The course talks about risk management, seeing, communicating, adjusting speed to conditions, margin of safety, driving emergencies, your car and you, the driver. Many drivers over the age of 55 take the course to take advantage of getting an insurance reduction to qualify for a five percent discount on their motor vehicle insurance.
O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei is pleased to announce that Richard D. Linderman, Esq., was recognized as Volunteer of Year by the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce, for his 25 years of service as Solicitor to the organization. He was presented with the award at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner on May 10, 2012. In addition to serving on the Board, Attorney Linderman has served on a multitude of Chamber committees over the years, and was lauded for offering his professional expertise and assistance to the Chamber through multiple leadership transitions, moves, special projects and the addition of affiliate organizations.
Mr. Linderman is retiring as the Chamber Solicitor effective June 30, 2012, and OWM is proud to congratulate him for his remarkable support and exceptional commitment to the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber Board has donated $500 to the Salvation Army in Mr. Linderman’s name.
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OWM congratulates James Kovaleski, Esq., for being named as one of Pottstown’s Top 20 Professionals Under the Age of 40. This excerpt was featured in the Pottstown Mercury on May 2, 2012:
Mr. Kovaleski has been with the law firm for seven years and has an advanced tax law degree. James Kovaleski lives in Phoenixville, is a leader in that community through various organizations such as Borough Council, Knights of Columbus, Petra Community Housing, Phoenixville Area Senior Center, Lions Club, and others. He is an attorney primarily in our Phoenixville office, but is involved in the Pottstown community as well. He is truly an up-and-coming leader in our community.
Work or volunteer responsibility: Attorney with O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C. law firm. In November 2011, Kovaleski was elected the West Board Councilman of Phoenixville Borough Council, which position he assumed in January 2012. He is involved in Phoenixville Area Chamber of Commerce (board member); Phoenixville Area Senior Center (board member/secretary); Petra Community Housing (board member/vice president); Schuylkill River Heritage Center (board member); Kimberton Lions Club (board member/vice president); and Knights of Columbus – Mont Clare (president). He is married and has a young daughter.
Goals: My personal goals include having a lasting, positive impact on the community I live and work in, Phoenixville. As a member of Phoenixville’s Borough Council, I hope to grow as a leader and serve the residents, as well as my family and friends, who call Phoenixville home. As an attorney, my immediate professional goals are to develop my practice and continue to improve skills and knowledge in my practice areas. My ultimate goal is to become partner.
David A. Megay, Esq., speaking at SCORE business planning seminars on 9/10/12, and 11/5/12 (contact SCORE at 610-327-2673).
OWM Law sponsoring First Friday celebration in Phoenixville on 6/1/12, 7/6/12, 8/3/12, 9/7/12 and 10/5/12 - please visit our table.
Read Legal Ease every other Sunday in the Pottstown Mercury.
Watch Legal Talk, brought to you by OWM, on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 on Channel 28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 98, or on our website at www.owmlaw.com/legal_talk/legal_talk.php.