new driving laws

Each New Year’s Day a new bevy of laws come into effect that drivers need to be aware of, especially if they do not want to get a ticket. While most law enforcement officers will generally be lenient with new laws at the beginning of the year, they are still within their authority to write you a ticket on January 1st, for a law you knew nothing about. These 9 new driving laws for 2016 are just a small sample of the new driving restrictions that are effective starting Jan 1, 2016:

1. California – Headphones:

While it was previously illegal only to wear earplugs in both ears, it will now be illegal to wear any type of headphones, or earbuds, in both ears while you are driving a motor vehicle. This law was put into place mainly so that motorists could hear someone honking their horn, alerting them to danger.

2. Illinois – Aggravated Speeding:

Going more than 26 mph over the speed limit in a construction zone or a school zone will now result in higher penalties. These penalties could include license suspension, and heavier fines. The law previously made no distinction between speeding and aggravated speeding in the aforementioned zones.

3. Texas – Rideshare Liability:

Drivers who work for a ridesharing service, such as Uber or Lyft, will still be required to have liability insurance, but the ridesharing company will be responsible for damages over the maximum payout of the driver’s policy. This is seen mainly as giving tacit approval for ridesharing companies to operate within the state.

4. Oregon – Self-service Pumps:

Residents of rural Oregon countries will now be required to pump their own gas between the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. This was put into place to help gas station owners reign in labor costs in sparsely populated areas.

5. Illinois – DUI Penalties:

Those convicted of a second DUI in Illinois will now be required to have an inter-lock ignition system installed on their vehicle. In addition, the driver will be on a restricted driver’s license for 5 years.

6. California – Slow Moving Vehicles:

A vehicle moving very slowly, or a bicyclist, will now be required to pull off of the road safely at their first opportunity to allow cars behind them to pass. Long lines of cars have been a problem behind SMVs for a long time all around the nation, California is joining several other states in codifying what is thought to be common courtesy.

7. Illinois – License Revocation:

Anyone who causes a death in a vehicle while violating the state Vehicle Code will have their driver’s license automatically revoked by the state. The driver will then have to apply for reinstatement in order to get it back.

8. Nationwide – Commercial Driving Hours:

Starting in February, all commercial truck drivers will be required to keep electronic logs of their hours driven. An electronic log cannot easily be manipulated, and it is intended to improve the safety of all drivers on the road.

9. Illinois – Uninsured Drivers:

Law enforcement in Illinois will now be able to impound a vehicle if the driver is found to not have insurance, as well as having a previous conviction on their record for operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

Even if you do get pulled over, you may be able to attend an online traffic school to help get a ticket off of your driving record. Most states are more than happy to let someone take a driving school once every year or two, which teaches them both the rules of the road, and how to be a safer driver.

In addition to getting a ticket reduce or removed from your driving record, attending an online traffic school can also affect your insurance rates. Your insurer may give you a discount if you can show that you have completed a safe driving course, since it is less likely that they will have to pay out claims for accidents you cause.