Harrisburg, Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf recently signed Act 131 of 2020 into law, which will help homeless Pennsylvanians obtain ID cards; help residents with visual impairments earn driver's licenses; and update commercial driver's license requirements.
“This new law makes significant changes to increasing many of our residents’ independence, ultimately enhancing their quality of life,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian.
Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness will be able to obtain a free initial photo ID or renewal after applying in-person at a PennDOT Driver's License Center. They must still meet certain identification and other requirements. Additional information can be found on the Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. This section of the law is effective beginning on January 25, 2021.
To help visually impaired people obtain a driver's license, the new law will allow applicants to use bioptic telescope lenses to help them to qualify for a 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.