Driving in the US
If you’re a resident of North Dakota, chances are that you’ve heard about tougher DUI laws that are meant to curb the amount of arrests that police officers and attorneys pursue each and every year. However, if you think that your chances of escaping penalties for DUI and other driving laws are increasing, think again: lawmakers are more confident that their jobs won’t be hindered by tougher legislation
These new laws, which take effect on August 1st, increases minimum penalties for most driving law offenses, which might ease the burden from some otherwise safe drivers. In addition to increasing the minimum penalty, Governor Jack Dalrymple has also increased the number of years that can pass before a subsequent DUI will be considered a first offense again (seven years as opposed to five years)
While the new laws certainly favor drivers as opposed to attorneys and public safety officials, unsafe drivers who might be eager to hit the roads again should think before driving under the influence. A new program – known as the 24/7 Sobriety Program – will require drivers who have been convicted of a DUI to undergo breath-alcohol tests twice a day at the cost of $2 each day ($1 per test). This can put a severe hassle on anyone who has to lead a busy life, which legislators are counting on to be a deterrent for those considering the dangerous decision to drink and drive.
The 24/7 program works by using sobriety tests to determine if a convicted DUI offender has had any alcohol. If the test proves to be positive, offenders will be taken into custody; offenders who refuse to take the test will immediately have their bond revoked.
Proponents of the 24/7 program already point to its incredible success, noting that 98% of participants are successful in completing this program. Judges are already hoping to use this innovative program to ensure that parole is successful in DUI cases, as well as alcohol- and drug crimes, as well as domestic violence or child abuse cases. In addition to this program, drivers who are pulled over for a suspected DUI can no longer refuse to take the test, as this will result in them being automatically charged with a DUI.
So what’s the lesson you can learn from these new North Dakota driving laws? While the legislature may seem to favor drivers, there’s no denying that the DUI penalties make it pay to be a safe driver.
The legality of flashing your lights to warn other drivers of upcoming speed traps is a hotly contested topic.
It’s a common sight on the road. You’re driving along when you notice an oncoming car flashing their lights at you as they pass. You know that this means that there are police up ahead and you react by slowing down to avoid a speeding ticket. Is this legal? Based on recent court rulings, it appears that this type of communication is allowed.
A man in Florida who was recently ticketed for this behaviour decided to sue the County Sheriff’s Office for violating his civil rights. The judge ruled that the driver was exercising his right to free speech when he flashed his lights to warn another driver of an upcoming speed trap. The judge further stated that this type of communication is protected by the First Amendment and the driver was therefore acting legally. The man won his case and the County police are now being told that they should not issue tickets to drivers for flashing their lights in this manner.
It’s an interesting question. Regarding this case, Judge Alan Dickey stated, “If the goal of the traffic law is to promote safety and not to raise revenue, then why wouldn’t we want everyone who sees a law enforcement officer with a radar gun in his hand, blinking his lights to slow down all those other cars?”. In other words, Judge Dickey feels that the result of this activity will be to slow drivers down, and that will result in safer driving. Therefore, he feels that the outcome is positive.
However, not everyone agrees with this sentiment. Rich Roberts, a spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations, thinks that flashing your headlights interferes with laws that are designed to make driving safe. “Warning oncoming traffic that there are law enforcement officers ahead allows a speeder to slow down until he passes the officers – and then he starts speeding again,” Roberts said.
In the past, drivers in New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee have challenged similar tickets that they have received for warning other motorists by honking their horn or flashing their headlights, and the courts have similarly determined that this activity is protected under the First Amendment.
Currently, it appears that police officers are no longer issuing tickets for flashing headlights to warn other drivers of speed traps, but the future legality of this activity is uncertain.
Driving while distracted is the cause of many serious and often fatal accidents every year. However, this is still a common practice for many drivers which is resulting in more and more cities and states legislating a ban on this activity. There are many types of distractions that can cause danger, such as talking or texting on a cell phone, grooming, watching videos, or adjusting a cd player or radio.
What seems like the worst thing in the world happens. You are driving down the road,
see those flashing lights behind you, and moments later you are handed a citation. This
citation details your requirements for resolving the ticket, which include the option to pay
at the appropriate location or attend a court date that will determine whether you are
guilty or not. Read the rest of this entry »
So many drivers ignore the importance of a seat belt – therefore often ignore the
seatbelt laws that are in effect in every state of the United States. Seat belt laws are
there to keep you safe, and without a great history of fatalities and injuries on roadways
that are related to the failure to put on a seatbelt, these laws would not exist.
Often times, drivers are under the false assumption that officers will not pull them over
just for their seatbelt being off – therefore, as long as they aren’t doing anything else
wrong, they feel they are safe from a ticket. This is a big myth that is completely wrong.
Officers will stop you just for not having your safety belt on, regardless of your speed or
any other factors. You could be driving up to par and with all other laws in regards, but if
you aren’t strapped in, you are committing a crime and will be stopped and ticketed.
A seat belt ticket may seem like no big deal, but the more you receive tickets, the more
money is coming out of your pocket and the more your driver record is affected. Why
even risk a perfect driving record for the failure to wear a seatbelt.
Statistics show that you are at a 20 times higher risk of injury or death just by not
wearing your seat belt when you get in your vehicle. Whether the driver or passenger
in the front or the back, the seatbelt is very important as it gives you the safety that you
need in the event of an accident. Without your seatbelt, there are several scenarios that
can occur, including:
Ejection from the vehicle
Impact with the windshield
Impact with other objects in the vehicle
Unconsciousness which impairs your ability to react
At the same time, you are responsible for those who are in the vehicle with you.
Whether a friend who is an adult or a family member who is a minor, their failure to wear
a seatbelt is reflected on you as you get the ticket and the fine and when it comes to
children, you can get a great deal of fines together. In fact, you can get several different
tickets if you have a minor in the vehicle who is improperly restrained by a safety belt,
as you are the responsible party and put them at a great risk by driving while they are
not in a seat belt.
When teen drivers are seeking their privilege to get on the road, they aren’t really thinking of the many dangers that they are taking on before them. Getting their license is all they think about, and the laws and rules are often the last thing on their minds. However, there are laws that are imposed on teen drivers that are much stricter than those for adults, ensuring that the many factors of teen driving mistakes and irresponsibility are taken into account before they are permitted to drive.
In New Jersey, there is a law mandating that all teen drivers under the age of 18 are only permitted to drive when there is no more than one passenger within the vehicle. Why this law is important is because teen drivers are the greatest risk to the roads, and if they have many passengers, not only is their attention diverted, but they are also putting many more lives at risk.
Sadly, a 17 year old driver, Casey Brenner, with 7 passengers within the vehicle recently crashed an SUV causing the death of the driver as well as 3 other passengers. This sad tragedy has brought much attention to this significant law to prohibit driving under 18 with more than one passenger present in the vehicle.
When first obtaining a license in New Jersey, until the age of 18, a restricted license is obtained, which prohibits more than one passenger in the vehicle during operation. However, disregarding this law, the young driver became another statistic in teen driving, and another lesson as to why the Graduated Driver’s License Law is so important, and even bringing question to any gaps or issues with the law that could be allowing more and more teens to become and help create new fatalities on the roadways.
The Graduated Driver’s License Law is now getting some great attention, making sure that the story of these teens doesn’t continue, although it is becoming a struggle to maintain accordance with this law by new teens anxious to get on the road and transport their pals around.
One lesson, however, that is learned through the incident is that these laws are created for a reason, therefore should be a main consideration before getting a license and behind the wheel. For these teens, there are no second chances, but for other teens in New Jersey, and throughout the U.S. as well, the chance is now to make the right decision and ensure that they too do not become a statistic of the road.
Virginia has recently introduced a hefty speeding ticket fine of $3550 or more based on the amount over the limit that a driver is ticketed for. This creates a great challenge for those motorists in the state that are common to speeding tickets and gives a great reason for drivers to be a lot more careful in watching their speed. This is a law that may seem a bit crude and outrageous, but it is creating safer streets, motivating drivers to slow down and follow the limits that are posted.
These fees are seen in hefty tax increases that are assessed to drivers of VA that are convicted of speeding in the state. This gives concern to these drivers, but the main method of avoiding such horrendous taxing on their yearly taxes is to avoid speeding, always follow the traffic laws, and maintain a quality driving record.
Even driving 15 MPH over the legal limit when driving on an interstate highway can bring 6 points on a license, with fines up to $2,500, with a year in jail possible and $1,050 assessed in taxes. This alone brings speeding over the limit by merely 15 MPH to a cost of $3,550 and a possible jail sentence. For drivers that are driving 20 miles or more over the speed limit, there is a charge of reckless driving, which is for all those motorists driving 80 MPH or more. While 80 may not seem to be a high speed, if you are in a zone that doesn’t permit 80, you are likely going to jail for reckless driving. You will also have to pay $350 for 3 years following with fees that can go well over $3000 in total.
This is a law that is gaining a great deal of attention as drivers are wondering whether it is even constitutional to gain such a great revenue from tickets alone. Why should motorists have to pay nearly $4,000 for going merely 15 MPH, with yearly assessed taxes as well? Well, the reason is to keep speeders off the roadways and keep those drivers that are following the rules safe. It is to encourage those who think they will get away with speeding to not even try as there can be great penalties for doing so – so much that it could affect your lifestyle for years afterwards. With the new fines and penalties imposed, drivers are thinking twice about putting the pedal to the metal.
Saving gas is one of the most sought after practices that exist today, but not many people can tell you how to really get the most for the money you spend in gas. A lot of people will blame their vehicles for loss of gas too fast or low MPG’s, but in many cases it is actually the fault of the driver more so than anything else. So, how can you make sure that $20 gets you where you are planning to go efficiently?
Take Your Time
You don’t have to drive like your grandmother who is scared to approach other drivers, but you should be taking a bit of time when driving, as mashing down the gas can suck every drop out of the gas tank before you get halfway there. So many people forget that patience is a virtue, and proceed to rush everywhere they go, often looking at the gas hand wondering why it is going much quicker than it should. However, if you take your time driving and follow a speed that is less gas heavy, you can be sure that you will save a great deal more gas.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Maintaining your vehicle is not only wise, it is necessary to keep your vehicle’s MPG’s higher. If you aren’t changing the oil, checking the other fluids, maintaining proper tire tread and balance, and performing other maintenance tasks, you will find that your vehicle burns through gas much quicker. In most cases, the higher consumption of gas can be attributed to some sort of issue with the vehicle that could have been caught with simple maintenance and prevented from causing great costs to you.
Keep a More Economic Vehicle
Driving those big engine vehicles just doesn’t work with gas anymore and can be a definite way to watch your pockets slim down for gas. Getting an economical vehicle today is a must if you want to save the most gas – even if you just have a small vehicle for big runs and keep the vehicle you really want for fun. It is the practice of today and most drivers are finding out how important it is to give in and get a vehicle that can achieve more MPG’s much easier.
Keeping your eye on the fuel is only natural these days as gas reaches $5 and more in some states. As people are seeking a way to cut down their gas prices, there are several steps that can be taken to ensure the vehicle you do have is burning gas more efficiently, and the vehicle that you are looking for is able to offer the MPG’s that you want. After all, why should you be spending all your hard earned money from work trying to pay for gas to get to work, when you could easily put some of that money aside and still keep the trip you always have? Short of getting on a bike or trusting your feet for the trip, getting ahold of wiser gas saving tips is necessary.
According to a survey done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 50% of American drivers said driving feels less safe today than it did just give years ago. Why is this? Wouldn’t it seem that driving would be safer, given all of the new features in vehicles today to help the vehicles sustain crashes and the passengers avoid injuries?
Why Driving is Tricker Today
While going to the Department of Motor Vehicles might be challenging, being on the road seems to be more difficult. Drivers are reporting new worries about being on the road. After all, there are more distractions when driving today than there have been in the past.
Drivers have pointed out the following worries:
- Cell phones
- Aggressive drivers
- Increased traffic volumes
How to Stay Safe on the Road
- Know the local traffic laws
- Attend driving classes
- Do not talk on the phone or text while driving
- Maintain a proper speed
The main part of getting your driver’s license is the studying and practice, as when it comes time to be licensed, a road exam is required. The road exam is not only important, but can be quite a challenge for the first time, bringing forth great anxiety and a lot of things to think about.
If you are approaching your road exam appointment and want to be sure that you know what to do to pass, make sure you follow these simple tips that can make all the difference for you as a new driver.
- Take practice time seriously. Even though you have your learner’s permit and the privilege to drive supervised, it doesn’t mean that you should neglect this time as the perfect opportunity to get the practice you need for your driver’s test behind the wheel.
- Study your driver’s manual. This publication is perhaps one of the most important to new drivers, and tells you everything you need to know about driving, road signs, signals, and your rights and responsibility as a driver.
- Make sure you listen to instruction. The testing instructor will provide you with the instructions for completing the road exam. This will include various moves and more. If you want to pass your road exam, it is best that you are paying good attention as you are being scored as you go.
- Pay attention to all signs and signals. While the instructor is providing you with direction for the test, you are still expected to know the signs and signals intended for you, while following them. The instructor will pay attention to how well you can do this, grading you the entire time.
- Follow the speed limit regardless of signage. It is your responsibility to also follow the speed limit, regardless of whether or not there is posting. Your driver’s manual will provide the basic rules for speed limits in different types of areas.
- Provide enough room between yourself and other drivers. There is no tailgating allowed, as it is a ticketing offense. If you are doing your road exam, however, you want to garner a bit more room between drivers in front of you, which should be between 3 and 4 car lengths.
- Calm down. The worst thing you could do is be anxious while taking your road exam, as it causes you to be more prone to accidents and mistakes. If you are taking your test, take some time to calm down and get more acquainted with the process in order to be sure that nerves don’t defeat you in the end.
Your driver’s test is quite important; therefore you want to take the time to make sure that you are ready, prepared, and able to complete your exam as successfully as possible. Remember that you should drive just like you would if you were licensed, as every move you make counts as you take your test, even the braking of the car and how hard you push them.