Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Traffic Laws Go Into Effect Tomorrow, July 1

Effective tomorrow, July 1, two new traffic safety laws in Virginia will help to protect not only tow truck drivers and highway workers but also help to ensure that 16 and 17 year old passengers are buckled up.

During the 2010 session, Virginia lawmakers voted to expand the Commonwealth’s Move Over law to include protection for tow truck drivers and highway workers who display amber colored flashing lights. The current law applies only to motorists approaching emergency vehicles displaying red or blue flashing lights, which are generally displayed by police, fire and rescue.

In addition to protecting vehicles displaying red or blue lights, Virginia's new law also mandates that motorists, approaching a tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle displaying amber lights, change lanes away from the flashing lights, if possible to do so safely, and/or proceed with caution given the prevailing highway conditions. When the new law goes into effect on July 1, Virginia will join 38 other states that already recognize the dangers faced by these individuals and the need to give them added protection while they work. The offense is punishable as a traffic infraction.

The second change impacting motorist safety will require 16 and 17 year old passengers to wear seat belts in the back seat of a vehicle and subject them to primary enforcement for lack of belt use in any passenger seat.

More details about the two new laws are available in this Virginia State Police press release.

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