With a new year can come commitmentsyou make to yourself and the opportunity for a fresh start in many areas ofyour life.
A new year can also mean newlaws. 2020 is ushering in new distracteddriving laws in states around the country, and some of these are detailedbelow. You’ll want to keep an eye on these laws for yourself, and if you’re theparent of a teen driver, you’ll need to discuss these laws with them as well.
Teens can often be some of thebiggest offenders when it comes to distracted driving, and they’re notnecessarily known for keeping up with new changes in the law either.
In Florida, as soon as the New Year began, it meant newdriving laws. Starting January 1, 2020, in Florida, you can receive aticket if you’re caught texting and driving.
Texting while driving officially became illegal in Floridain July 2019, but since that time until the new year, officers were only issuingwarnings to drivers caught doing it. Now, a driver can get a ticket for theoffense.
In Florida, if you’re using a navigation device, the bandoesn’t apply to you and it doesn’t apply when your car is stopped. It alsodoesn’t include using your phone to answer a call.
If you are caught texting and driving under the new laws,you’ll pay $30 for the first offense, and then it goes up to $60 after that,plus you’ll start to get points on your license to the tune of three pointseach time you’re caught.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently signedlegislation that bans the use of electronic devices altogether while you’redriving as well as when you’re operating a bicycle.
The legislation was initially filed in 2003, and it tookthis long for it to come to fruition.
Under the law, youmust use a hands-free device while you’re driving.
If you are operating a motor vehicle, you can’t hold amobile device, even if you aren’t texting. Your mobile device has to be in hands-freemode. This strict law prohibits the viewing of any texts, images or videos on adevice, but you can use a map generated by a navigation system on a mobiledevice if it’s mounted to the windshield, dashboard or center console, as longas it’s not impeding the operation of the vehicle.
If you are using an electronic device in response to anemergency, you’re exempt from the law.
The law technically takes effect in February 2020, butdrivers will only get warnings for violations through March 31, 2020.
In Illinois, you’ll see new and updated driving laws ineffect as of New Year’s Day.
For example, if you’re in Illinois and you violate Scott’sLaw, you’ll have to pay increased fines. There will be increased fines forreckless driving, passing a school bus and speeding in a construction zone aswell.
Illinois has long been known as one of the toughest stateswhen it comes to cracking down on distracted driving, and 2020 will be noexception.
In 2010 Illinoispassed a law banning texting while driving and that was expanded to includephones without hands-free devices in 2014. Now in 2020, drivers are banned fromwatching streaming videos on any device while they’re on the road. Devicesinclude phones, laptops, tablets, and electronic games.
If there is a violation leading to a crash causing bodilyharm, the driver may face felony charges. Otherwise, there are fines, and theamount of the fine goes up with the number of violations.
Finally, another state where a new year means new laws isCalifornia.
Driving while using phones is already illegal in California,but the state is making the penalties stricter. Although it won’t be enforceduntil 2021, in California, a point will be added to a drivers’ record for eachviolation of distracted driving occurring within 36 months of a pastconviction.
Other Californiatraffic laws taking effect include a requirement that passengers can’tconsume cannabis while on public transportation, in limos, in campers or taxis.
As of now, unless authorized by law the DMV can’t suspend ordelay driving privileges if someone’s convicted of a crime not involving aVehicle Code violation unless that offense included the use or attempted use ofa vehicle.
Have you checked to see whether or not your state isenforcing new traffic laws, particularly related to distracted driving?