With the New Year, comes new traffic and vehicle maintenance laws. The freedom that driving delivers, also bears great responsibility, so please see this selection of new laws for the roadways:

California
California drivers are now allowed to dictate, send or listen to text messages only if they are using voice-activated technology. The law amends the previous one prohibiting drivers from holding a cell phone in a car. For those law enforcement agencies using red light cameras, municipalities must post advisory signs within 200 feet of the intersections where they are located. Violators will receive warning notices for the first 30 days after installation.

Florida
In Florida, where NMEDA is headquartered, flashing your headlights to warn other drivers about nearby police is now legal. Previously, if you wanted to warn others about upcoming speed traps, you could be ticketed. Another law affecting Florida motorists is a reduction in the amounts accident victims can collect after a crash. Before, insurance companies paid $10,000 in benefits regardless of who is at fault. Now the amount is capped at $2,500. However, if a doctor determines you have an emergency medical condition, then you could be eligible for up to $10,000.

Illinois
In Illinois, the ban of cell phone use in construction areas has been expanded to include areas without reduced speeds. Also, motorcyclists found guilty of doing wheelies while speeding will have to pay a $1,000 fine. The law also dictates handlebars can be no higher than the driver’s head. (Motorcyclists doing wheelies on busy highways, really)?

Maine
For teenagers in Maine, they now cannot drive with passengers or drive at night until the age of 16 and nine months. Previously the law was set at 16 and six months.

Ontario, Canada
New for 2013, Ontario motorists must adhere to a Drive Clean test that is faster and more accurately reads a car’s computer history to see if it meets emissions standards. Twenty percent more effective in reducing pollutants, it can also detect problems leading to poor performance and fuel economy. What happens when a vehicle doesn’t pass the test? It must be repaired by an accredited Drive Clean facility and then retested. Otherwise, the license plates will not be renewed.

As this is just a sampling of the 2013 laws, please make sure you research the traffic laws impacting your local community.

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Do you need information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

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