As a driver on the road, you have a legal duty not to present an unreasonable risk of harm to other drivers on this road. Part of upholding this duty includes staying aware of the driving laws for your state. Drivers should always make an effort to understand changes in state laws and how these changes may impact a driver, his or her car insurance policy, and of course, others sharing the road. Many car insurance companies strive to keep their policy holders up to date on law changes, but it is ultimately your duty to keep up to date. Changes in state law can also result in extra fines or increase in premiums for drivers, and it is important to be aware of these changes. Here are some of the new laws for driving in 2014 that you need to know.
1. Your name may be published on a website for failure to pay a fine.
States are increasingly moving toward the use of public websites to ensure that people pay their toll fines. In Illinois, individuals will now have their names published on a public website if they fail to pay a toll fine. This law will apply to individuals who owe more than $1,000 in fines, late fees or tolls.
2. Electric car owners may need to pay additional fees.
Despite the positive impact that electric cars have in regards to the environment, it appears states are now penalizing electric car owners. Electric car owners now will have to pay an additional fee for ownership of this type of car. In Colorado, electric car owners now have to pay an extra $50 in registration fees.
3. People will no longer be able to text while driving.
Many states have now joined the movement to ban texting while driving. In 2014, California will be implementing a law that bans teenage drivers from texting while driving. They will also be banned from using a hands-free device to transmit text messages.
4. Veterans may receive new license plates to commemorate their service.
In California, qualifying veterans will have the option of using a license plate that features a design commemorating their service.
5. Maine residents can now select organ donation on their driver’s licenses.
Maine residents will now have the option to select whether they want to be organ donors on a driver’s license. This checked box can assist paramedics who are assisting at the scene of an emergency. Paramedics will know whether they can preserve the person’s organs to assist others who may need them. Maine will be joining 47 other states that currently utilize the “organ donation” check box on licenses.
6. Ohio residents will have to remain smoke-free in a car if they are traveling with children.
Ohio recently implemented a law that will prohibit drivers or passengers from smoking if they have children in the car. The law aims to prevent children from exposure to dangerous second-hand smoke. Drivers and passengers will have to wait until the end of their journey to enjoy a smoke.
7. Distracted drivers may face harsher penalties in 2014.
“Jake’s Law” has recently been proposed in Maryland, and its effect would be to provide harsher penalties for distracted drivers who cause accidents. Distracted drivers would also be required to provide basic information about their cell phone carrier to police officers.
As texting and smartphone use becomes more popular, states are stepping up to enact harsher laws to protect the public. Drivers will likely see many significant driving law changes in 2014.