|08-21-2003, 08:28 AM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2003
New Traffic Laws for Sept. 1
Driving-related laws taking effect September 1, 2003:
* SB 45 makes it a state jail felony to drive while intoxicated with a passenger younger than 15.
* SB 193 requires drivers nearing a stopped emergency vehicle that has lights activated to:
- Vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, if the highway has two or more lanes traveling the direction of the emergency vehicle; or
- Slow to a speed not more than 20 miles per hour (mph) less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or more; or
- Slow to a speed not more than five mph when the posted speed limit is less than 25 mph.
* HB 1326 automatically suspends for one year the driver license of anyone convicted of illegally racing on a public roadway. Before the license can be reinstated, the driver would have to complete 10 hours of community service. The punishment for illegal racing increases to a Class B misdemeanor.
The law also increases the punishment for drivers who are racing drunk, who have open containers of alcohol in the vehicle when racing, who seriously injure or kill someone during the race or who have been convicted multiple times of illegal racing. Those offenses range from a Class A misdemeanor to a second-degree felony.
* HB 439 makes it illegal to add reflective material, lights, emblems or anything else that changes the color of the license plate or makes it difficult to read the letters on the license plate.
* HB 3588 increases the penalty for seriously injuring someone when illegally passing a school bus that is loading or unloading students to Class A misdemeanor.
NOTE: An erroneous email has been circulating the Internet, claiming that HB 281, which outlawed talking on a cell phone while driving-or without using a hands-free device-had passed and will take effect September 1. The bill did not pass and will not take effect.
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