Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Traffic Laws Become Effective October 1; No Hand-Held Cell Phone Use, Seat Belts for All passengers

 Residents are reminded that two new State traffic laws went into effect on October 1.

First, a fully licensed driver is not permitted to use a handheld cell phone while driving. Police are enforcing this ban as a primary traffic offense, meaning that officers can ticket drivers solely for violating this law. It is not against the law to attach and use a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth. But, officers encourage drivers to refrain from using a cell phone while driving so they can concentrate fully on their driving responsibilities. Texting while driving is already a primary offense. The penalty for the first violation of this law is $83, the second violation penalty is $140 and the fine for the third and subsequent offenses is $160.

The other new law requires that every vehicle occupant use either a seat belt or child safety restraint. Anyone over the age of 16 riding in either the front or the back seat will be required to use a seat belt. Residents are also reminded that the number of passengers in a vehicle cannot exceed the number of seat belts in that vehicle, and no more than one person can be buckled in a single seat belt.