Don't Get Ticketed: Know Your New Laws
With every new calendar quarter, a wave of new laws hit the books. They may not be in your state’s updated DMV manual since most of those manuals are only updated once a year, but that doesn’t mean these laws aren’t in full effect.
Check our list below to see if your state has any new laws that impact you.
United Kingdom – Say what??
*No Smoking in Cars
We are mentioning the UK’s ban on smoking in a car or other vehicles with anyone under the age of 18 simply because it has received so much attention in the U.S. This UK ban is effective October 1, 2015, but so many U.S. citizens thought it became a U.S. law that snopes.com ran an article on it disproving the myth.
Here in the U.S., a similar law is picking up steam. The states that already have laws in place to prevent people from smoking in cars around children and the cutoff ages are: Arkansas (14 and younger); California (18 and younger); Louisiana (13 and younger); Maine (16 and younger); Oregon (18 and younger); Utah (15 and younger) and Vermont (8 and under.) Numerous cities, including Bangor, Maine; Rockland County, New York; Keyport, New Jersey; and West Long Branch, New York, also ban smoking in cars around children.
Law or not, this is one case where if you care at all for the little being in your car, you’ll refrain from smoking. Many studies have come out showing that second-hand smoke is harmful, and it’s especially harmful to children with less developed lungs. Rolling down the window doesn’t help either. The CDC provides a fact sheet on the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and states: “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”
*Safer School Zones
Effective October 1, 2015, it is no longer legal for a motorist to make U-turn or to pass or overtake another vehicle in an activated school zone or school crossing zone, or on streets children have to cross to get to school zones. This violation is now a misdemeanor.
*Tougher Penalties for Hit-and-Run
The Nevada legislature also increased the maximum sentence for hit-and-run cases that cause severe injury or death from 15 to 20 years, and there will be no chance at probation, as outlined in SB245. Hit-and-run will be treated the same as a DUI.
*Proof of insurance ok on smartphone or tablet
On a good note for Nevada motorists, Assembly Bill 143 will now allow electronic proof of insurance to be accepted by officers through a smartphone or tablet. Let’s hope this one makes it way through the other 50 states.
*Speed limit up to 80 mph
Another law change allows speed limits up to 80 miles per hour on some highways. Don’t expect to see new speed limit signs anytime soon. NDOT said it will need to conduct speed and safety studies first.
For a list of Nevada bills that went into effect Oct. 1 click here.
*Move Over Law Expanded
Effective October 1, 2015, the Move-Over law has been expanded to include vehicles being used in the collection of refuse, solid waste or recycling.
*One Stop Lamp Required on Each Side of Rear of Vehicle
This law kind of isn’t new. NC has always required one stop lamp on each side of the rear of the vehicle, but for various reasons the NC legislature felt it necessary to clarify this point. Perhaps they have a quota for passing new laws that they need to meet each session.
NC also passed a law to define and regulate autocycles. An autocycle is a three-wheeled motorcycle that has a steering wheel, pedals and seat safety belts for each occupant, anti-lock brakes, air bag protection, and completely enclosed seating that does not require the operator to straddle a seat. In a nutshell, the autocycle has the same requirements for driving it and maintaining it in NC as a motorcycle.
North Carolina also passed Senate Bill 541 to define and regulate Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). NC defines a TNC as any person or company that used an online-enabled application or platform to connect passengers with TNC drivers who provide pre-arranged transportation services. Can anyone say “Uber”?
The legislation simply requires a permit from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, maintenance of liability insurance and background checks for drivers. Drivers working for a TNC must also carry liability insurance coverage while logged onto the TNC’s online-enabled platform but is not providing the TNC service.
All in all, fairly innocuous legislation. So, for now, Uber seems to be alive and well in NC.
Effective October 1, 2015, Maryland changed its expungement law, and many cases are now expungable. An expungement is the destruction of a criminal record. Once expunged, you may legally answer NO to the question “Have you ever been charged with/convicted of a crime?” on CERTAIN employment forms.
*Maximum Posted Speed Limit 70mph
Effective October 1, 2015, the maximum posted speed limit on intrastates in Maryland is now 70mph. Click here to see a chart with the most up to date information on bans (i.e., cell phone usage) and speed limits.
Lisa Lippiner covers driving news for DMVCheatSheets.com