New 2019 Laws Coming Your Way

If it feels like you are constantly reading about new laws coming into effect, then that’s because you are. It seems January 1, July 1, and October 1 are the most favorite dates for states to declare laws effective.

Distracted driving laws and car seat laws are two areas that states around the country keep updating and “improving.” This past July, Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee and Georgia all passed updated laws on one or both topics.

Why all the changes in laws? Well, in the case of distracted driving, technology has advanced and we have new forms of distraction. States have watched accidents rise and are now moving to legislate to curb accidents from distracted driving. It seems the general consensus is that a hands-free device is the way to go. 19 states now have hands-free laws in effect, meaning you can’t hold your phone and talk on it. Texting is almost uniformly not allowed while driving in these states too. Tennessee recently added that it’s not legal to reach over and pick up a ringing phone while driving.

The American Pediatric Academy revised their recommendations on child seat use. Now states are starting to move to legislate parents to follow these guidelines. While studies on child seat effectiveness vary, the APA recommends children under 2 remain in a rear facing seat. Virginia became the most recent state to make this recommendation a law.

As a parent, I for one am so happy my children won’t be impacted by this new 2 year rear seat recommendation. My kids cried bloody murder as they approached year 1 as they hated sitting backwards in the car. Not to mention, their legs keep growing so there’s not much place to put those nonremovable appendages in a rear-facing seat.

As frustrating as all these new laws may feel at times, they generally, at least in regards to driving laws, come from a place of intention to lower traffic fatalities.

Indiana and Illinois also increased penalties for not stopping for a stopped school bus in response to a fatal Indiana crash in which a woman didn’t stop and killed three children crossing the street.

So, keep an eye out for your state’s laws. You can also find out what your state’s most recent stance is on a variety of a laws that differ between states by visiting AAA’s Digest of Motor Laws.

Lisa Lippiner covers driving news for DMVCheatSheets.com
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