Thursday November 9, 2006
New Laws for Traffic Safety
Several new state laws are now in effect to make Kentucky’s driving safer, according to Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze, who prosecutes traffic violations in district court.
“I believe these new laws can help save lives and prevent injuries, “Maze.
Three new laws are now in effect that every driver should be aware of: the quick-clearance law, the primary seat-belt law, and the intermediate license law for teenagers.
The quick-clearance law requires drivers involved in crashes on interstate highways and parkways to move their vehicles off the roadway immediately if the accident does not involve death or a visible injury.
“This law is designed to cut down on secondary accidents, when other vehicles either crash into the police car or into the original wrecked cars,” Maze said. “It also should cut down traffic backups because the wreck will be cleared out and gawkers won’t have any reason to slow down.”
Laws similar to this in other states have cut down on interstate backups considerably.
Primary seat-belt law
Police can now pull motorists over for not wearing seatbelts. Previously, motorists could be cited for not wearing seatbelts only if they were pulled over for other offenses.
The University of Kentucky-based Kentucky Institute of Medicine estimates that if the state gets the usual spike (11 percent) in increased usage from the new primary enforcement, 62 fewer people a year will die in crashes and 388 fewer will suffer major spinal-cord or brain injuries.
The primary seat-belt law will qualify Kentucky for $11.1 million in federal incentives. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $25.
Intermediate licenses for teenagers
As of Oct. 1, teenagers ages 16 and 17 are required to obtain intermediate licenses between their learner’s permits and their full operator’s licenses. In other words, it will now take a full year for teenagers ages 16 and 17 to receive their licenses.
After having their permits for 6 months, teenagers will then be eligible for an intermediate license, which also must be held for 6 months. Those with intermediate licenses will have the following restrictions:
· May not drive between midnight and 6 a.m.
· May have no more than one non-family passenger under 20.
· Have to attain 60 hours of supervised driving with an adult before being granted an unrestricted license.
Permits are now valid for 3 years; the intermediate driver’s licenses are valid for 2 years.
The intermediate licenses do not apply to teenagers ages 18-20. Those ages 18 to 20 must hold a permit for 180 days, but then are eligible for a driver’s license with full privileges. Those 21 and older must hold a permit for only 30 days before trying for a full driver’s license.
“Longer training periods and opportunities for more driving experience will help beginning drivers ,” Maze said.