In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Nine years later, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans. Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes and texting is one of the most common distractions. Despite the risks, many drivers admit to distracted driving and the problem is particularly pervasive for young drivers.

During a recent webcast presented by The Council of State Governments in collaboration with The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, experts discussed vehicle telematics technology and its impact on the insurance industry.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia currently allow marijuana use either for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. As marijuana use becomes more prevalent in states and legalization gains more popular support, states are addressing the myriad issues arising out of marijuana legalization, such as banking, environmental impacts and driving. In light of a new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that found drivers who recently used marijuana were involved in twice as many fatal car accidents in Washington after the state legalized cannabis, states are wrestling with the question: How high is too high to drive?

Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to issue what is being billed as a model state policy as well as “best-practice guidance to industry on establishing principles of safe operation for fully autonomous vehicles.” Then, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) will follow suit with more detailed guidelines and materials in support of the policy this fall. Those two documents are likely to kick off what many believe will be a busy couple of years at the state and federal levels in determining how driverless vehicles will take the roads and the complex policy changes that may be needed to accommodate them. But while many states anxiously await that guidance, a couple are already making moves to accelerate the autonomous future in significant ways.

Vermonters whose driver’s licenses have been suspended for failure to pay fines and fees may find a reprieve this fall following the May passage of a bill by the state Legislature. The bill, H. 571, aims to alleviate some of the financial burden that outstanding traffic tickets and resulting license suspensions can pose, particularly for low-income residents in the rural state, where there are few public transit options and people rely on driving to get to work or school.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults—United States, 2014 report, which found that nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-60 are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The average hours of sleep Americans get each night vary across states and across geographic locations, the average hours of sleep Americans get each night also vary across racial and ethnic groups, age groups, employment statuses, levels of educational attainment, and relationship statuses.The implications of sleep deprivation extend beyond individual health and can impact public safety and the workforce.

Change is commonplace and expected in the auto industry. In recent years, however, talk has been not only about body styles but also about whether or not a body is needed at all—a human body, that is.

This Act states that if a driver's blood contains five nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter in whole blood (5 ng/mL) at the time of the offense or within a reasonable time thereafter, this fact gives rise to a permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence of one or more drugs. THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. DUI and DWAI are misdemeanors. Vehicular homicide is a class 3 felony if the driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Vehicular assault is a class 4 felony if the driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.

CSG Midwest
In one of the last bills it passed in 2014, the Ohio General Assembly has placed new restrictions on local governments’ use of cameras to detect and enforce traffic violations. SB 342, signed into law in December, requires a police officer to be present at the location where a traffic camera is in operation. According to The Columbus Dispatch, this statutory change is expected to make the use of red-light and speed cameras financially infeasible for Ohio cities.
 
 

This act amends existing laws relating to vehicle licensure, fees, license plates, safety, inspection and other requirements to include a new class of vehicle known as an “autocycle.” An “autocycle” is defined as “a three-wheeled motor vehicle that has a steering wheel and seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride and is manufactured to comply with federal safety requirements for motorcycles.” Except as otherwise provided, an autocycle shall not be deemed to be a motorcycle.

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