New Laws for Virginia Drivers

  1. Child Safety Seat Update: Rear-facing until 2 for child passengers starts July 1, 2019 (prohibits child restraint devices from being forward-facing until, at least, the child reaches two years of age or until the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing child restraint device as prescribed by the manufacturer of the device. The bill expands the reasons that a physician may determine that it is impractical for a child to use a child restraint system to include the child's height. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2019.)
  2. Handheld phone ban in work zones. SB1768 (Use of handheld personal communications devices; highway work zones; penalty. Prohibits any person from holding a handheld personal communications device in his hand while driving a motor vehicle in a highway work zone, with certain exceptions. The bill provides that a violation is punishable by a mandatory fine of $250. Current law prohibits only the reading of an email or text message on the device and manually entering letters or text in the device as a means of communicating, with the same exceptions.)
  3. Handheld Photo speed enforcement in work zones SB1521 (Handheld photo speed monitoring devices. Requires the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to review and report on the proposed use of handheld photo speed monitoring devices and any legal or constitutional implications of dedicating civil penalties to a fund other than the Literary Fund. Subject to a reenactment clause, the bill provides that the Department of State Police may operate a handheld photo speed monitoring device, defined in the bill, in or around a highway work zone for the purpose of recording images of vehicles that are traveling at speeds of at least 12 miles per hour above the posted highway work zone speed limit within such highway work zone when (i) workers are present and (ii) such highway work zone is indicated by appropriately placed signs displaying the maximum speed limit and the use of such handheld automated speed monitoring device. The bill also provides that the operator of a vehicle shall be liable for a monetary civil penalty, not to exceed $125, if such vehicle is found to be traveling at speeds of at least 12 miles per hour above the posted highway work zone speed limit by the handheld photo monitoring device.)
  4. Mover Over Law

    Failing to move over or slow down for police, fire, EMS and similar vehicles stopped with flashing lights will now be reckless driving, similar to speeding over 80 mph, punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Under current law, a first such offense is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $250, and a second such offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Failure to move over or slow down for other response vehicles such as tow trucks will remain a traffic infraction that can still lead to a driver’s license suspension if the violation results in a crash.

  5. DUI Maiming; Maiming, etc., of another; driving while intoxicated; operating watercraft while intoxicated; penalties. Increases from a Class 6 felony to a Class 4 felony the punishment for a person who, as a result of driving while intoxicated or operating a watercraft or motorboat while intoxicated in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show reckless disregard for human life, unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury, as defined in the bill, of another person resulting in permanent and significant physical impairment.



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