“Dooring” other changes go into effect on July 1

A traffic infraction for “dooring” and some new restrictions for learner’s permit holders are among the many Division of Motor Vehicles-related legislation changes effective July 1.
Effective Friday, Senate Bill 117 of 2016 creates a traffic infraction with a $50 fine for opening a motor vehicle door when it is not reasonably safe to do so. Dooring, commonly used in reference to bicyclists, occurs when a motorist opens his vehicle’s door in the path of an oncoming cyclist or other vehicle. The impact can seriously injure or kill a bicyclist.
Senate Bill 555 of 2016 states that learner’s permit holders may not have more than one passenger under age 21, with the exception of household or family members. The passenger restriction was previously placed on passengers under 18.
In addition, provisional driver’s license holders under age 18 may no longer have more than one passenger under age 21 even if a parent is present. The passenger limitations on all provisional driver’s licenses also do not include household or family members. The initial license issued to any person younger than 18 years of age is considered a provisional driver’s license.
Both of these provisions are secondary offenses.
In addition, the law clarifies that learner’s permit holders may not use a cell phone or other wireless telecommunications device while driving, even if the device is in hands-free mode, except in a driver emergency or when the vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped.
The law also changes the minimum learner’s permit holding periods for 18-year-olds. Previously, 18-year-olds with a learner’s permit had to wait a minimum of nine months before they could apply for a driver’s license. Now, they must only hold a learner’s permit for 60 days.
The following are a few other DMV-related law changes effective July 1:
• Organ donors registered through DMV will remain on the registry unless they ask to be removed.
• Upon application, DMV will issue refunds of fuels taxes for fuels used in vehicles owned by a hunger-relief nonprofit organization when the vehicle is being used for this purpose.

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