2012 – New Year, New Driving Laws

Driving safety continues to be an important issue being examined by legislators and citizens alike. The 2012 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws shows the many gaps in traffic safety laws across the country. This report used a group of laws to evaluate states, most of which encompassed motorcycle helmet, booster seat, and seat belt measures, as well as limitations and requirements for young drivers, texting bans and stricter impaired driving laws.Many states passed new driver laws for the new year that relate to these areas.Cell Phone Use30 states have already banned or restricted drivers’ cell phone use in some way, with more continuing to do so.

Effective January 1st, 2012, texting while driving is declared illegal in North Dakota and Nevada.
Oregon closed a loophole in a law that enabled drivers to use hand-held devices in work-related situations. Cell phone use is now completely banned.
Safety Measures

Children under the age of eight in California are now required to use booster seats. The previous age ceiling was six. This law came into effect with increased protection as the driving force – booster seats increase the chance of surviving a crash by 45 percent for children in this age range.
Illinois passed legislation that now requires adult passengers in the backseat to wear a safety belt. Previously, adults in the front seat and children in the front or back were required to. Fines will be given to those not wearing a seatbelt in the backseat.
Drunk DrivingDrunk driving costs the U.S. over $132 billion per year. Related laws continue to be adopted by more and more states.

Tougher drunk driving laws have been enacted in Nebraska. Those convicted must have their licensed revoked or have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.
With most states already having some drinking and driving legislation, many are now working to enact tougher legislation and close loopholes in existing laws.Teen Driving

In North Carolina, stricter laws have been enacted that require teen drivers to turn in a record of their driving time in order to obtain their learner’s permits. After this point, they must produce 60 hours of supervised driving documentation. From there, they are able to get a limited license. They then must complete 12 more hours over the following six months to obtain their full license. These types of measures are similar to what many states have instituted, called the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL).
Additional Laws

Another Illinois law that came into effect January 1stallows motorcyclists to proceed through red lights after waiting two minutes and checking to make sure they can cross safely. This was created due to motorcycles’ weight not activating traffic lights that use ground sensors. Also in Illinois, trackers are now prohibited from using their cell phones without hands-free headsets.
Motor vehicle crashes cost society $230 billion annually. Many of the causes of these crashes are preventable. By being aware of the laws and legislation, as well as safety suggestions and precautions, we can all help reduce the number of accidents.

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