"It allows our new drivers to study in a paperless environment," said Rebecca Bickley, director of the Bureau of Driver Licensing in Harrisburg.
The manual can be read on a computer screen or the user can print it out by chapter, Bickley said.
Learner's permit applicants can download and print out the medical qualification certificate, which must be filled out and approved by a physician before a permit can be issued.
A variety of other forms can be downloaded and printed out, including driver's license and registration renewals, driver's license corrections, duplicate registration cards, replacement license plates, and renewal or weight class stickers.
"It saves the customer the inconvenience of waiting for it (the form) to arrive by mail or it saves them a trip to the local driver's exam center or notary where the forms are also available," Bickley said.
At Chambersburg's licensing and exam center on Mill Road, customers more often than not have to wait, particularly during busy periods in the morning and late afternoon, said Kathy Fultz, who works part time at the center.
"Most of our lines are pretty long," Fultz said.
New residents can turn to the Web site to find out how to get a Pennsylvania driver's license, registration card, vehicle title and license plate. The site also includes descriptions of the state's safety and emissions inspection programs.
As the Web site becomes more popular, Bickley said it will save the transportation department postage fees and printing costs, which are subsidized by taxpayer's money. It costs $1 to print out each driver's manual, she said.
Although online customers still have to mail the forms with the appropriate fees, users eventually will be able to fill out the form on the computer and pay for it online using a credit card, Bickley said.
"We're looking at a number of options to make our services more convenient for our customers," Bickley said.
The transportation department's Web site can be accessed through Pennsylvania's home page at (http://www.state.pa.us).