New DMV Laws Effective July 1, 2015
July 1st brings several states new laws for drivers. From move over laws to slow lane laws, laws that have proven effective in some states are spreading to other states.
If you are headed to your DMV to take the test, be sure to ask if the new laws are represented in the DMV manual and the written test. States have been known to have a delay in updating test material and DMV manuals are often only updated once a year. Once the tests have been updated, expect a question on any new or updated law.
Here’s a summary of new laws effective July 1, 2015:
First time DUI offenders will have to get an ignition interlock device installed in their cars. Every time they get inside, they’ll have to blow into it before starting the car. Mothers Against Drunk Driving celebrates the passage of this law and says it has proven effective at reducing drunk driving deaths in every state that has passed this law so far.
Traffic ticket quotas for law enforcement agencies become illegal in Florida under the so-called “Waldo Bill.” The bill’s nickname comes from the city of Waldo on heavily traveled U.S. 301, once considered one of the nation’s worst speed traps. In 2014, Waldo police officers disclosed a quota system and reported that tickets accounted for nearly half of the city’s revenue. If this law spreads, drivers in states across the nation shall celebrate.
Individuals driving a commercial vehicle are no longer allowed to drive while holding a wireless telecommunications device (such as a cell phone). CB radios are an exception.
There has been a “move over” law in Georgia for a few years now. The law requires drivers to move over to an adjacent lane if law enforcement has someone pulled over on the side of the road. Now there is another “move over” law; this one applies to sanitation trucks and carries a $250 fine for non-compliance.
The “Slow Poke” law in Indiana requires slower traffic to stay in the left lane. Technically, slow drivers are supposed to drive in the left-hand lane nationwide. Under the “Slow Poke” law, if someone is trying to pass you, and you don’t move over into the left lane, you could get a ticket for committing a Class C infraction with a maximum fine of $500.
Anyone younger than 21 years of age can no longer drive and use a cell phone. The new law bans any telecommunication device; cell phones and blue tooth included. No texting, no talking. The only exception is for 911 calls.
The law also restricts who can ride with new drivers. The only passengers allowed in the vehicle with an unsupervised driver up to 21 years old for the first six months are siblings, the driver’s children, or a spouse.
Unsupervised teen drivers 18 and under will have to park their vehicles between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights into the following morning. Also, no driving is allowed between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The only exceptions are work, school activities, or a religious event.
All teens who have completed an approved drivers education course will now be eligible for their probationary license at age 16 and 90 days. The previous rule was 16 and 180 days. Those drivers also need to have completed a 50-hour supervised driving log and held a permit for at least 180 days.
In regards to the 50-hour driving log, teens under the age of 18 can now only complete that log with:
- A licensed driver education instructor who is working under the direction of a licensed driver training school
- A certified driver rehabilitation specialist recognized by the Indiana BMV who employed through a driver rehabilitation program
- A licensed driver at least 25 years of age AND related to the teen driver by blood, marriage or legal status
- A spouse of the teen driver whom is a licensed driver and at least 21 years of age
- North Carolina
Moped drivers in North Carolina must either have a driver’s license or a state issued ID card, and mopeds must be registered. Mopeds no longer equal a bike in the Tar Heel state.
- South Dakota
In South Dakota, new laws impact those with a commercial driver license or those attempting to get one. The new law raises the minimum age to apply for a commercial driver’s license from 16 to 18. They also set a 14-day waiting period from the date a commercial learner’s permit is issued to the date the applicant is able to take the commercial driver’s license driving test.
These changes are designed to keep South Dakota aligned with national CDL regulations.
Virginia’s new “Move Over” law requires drivers to proceed with caution and, if reasonable, change lanes when approaching emergency vehicles on highways. The “Move Over” requirement applies to any vehicles that assist with the management of roadside and traffic incidents or perform traffic management services along highways and they may be equipped with flashing, blinking, or alternating amber warning lights.
The “Move Over” law is already in effect in many states and makes the roads safer for everyone, especially emergency vehicles.
Bicycles, mopeds, and other non-motorized vehicles are now included in the list of vehicles for which a motorist can be cited for following too closely.
When passing stationary refuse-collection vehicles on roadways with less than four lanes, the driver must decrease his speed by 10 mph below the posted speed limit and pass at least two feet to the left of the vehicle. When passing a stationary refuse-collection vehicle on a roadway with at least four lanes – and at least two lanes intended for traffic proceeding in the same direction – the driver must pass in a lane not adjacent to the vehicle and yield the right of way.
Also, effective July 1, motorists may cross double yellow lines to pass a pedestrian or a device moved by human power, including a bicycle, skateboard or foot scooter if such movement can be made safely.
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