New laws take effect today
Published 8:27 pm Monday, June 30, 2014
A number of new laws go into effect today, including a spate of new regulations governing traffic in the state.
One that should make E-ZPass customers happy is the repeal of the 50-cent monthly maintenance fee on E-ZPass accounts.
The law required the elimination of the fee by Sept. 1, but the change is being implemented two months early, according to an email sent to E-ZPass account holders.
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A law that requires moped owners to title and register their vehicles also goes into effect today. The law came about from a work group established in 2012 to study non-conventional vehicles, said Sunni Brown, a DMV spokeswoman.
“What the study found is the lack of any identifying information on a moped made them virtually impossible to recover after a theft,” Brown said.
The lack of identification on the vehicle or the driver also complicated the process of investigating fatal wrecks involving mopeds, Brown said. One law enforcement officer cited in the study reported he was unable to identify the driver or notify a next of kin for several days following a fatal crash, she said.
In 2013, there were more than 600 crashes in Virginia involving mopeds. Nearly 20 percent involved alcohol, and 10 percent were speed-related. Twelve of them were fatal.
Brown said more than 2,500 people have already titled and registered their mopeds. One license plate for the rear of the vehicle will be issued.
A portion of the law that went into effect last year requires moped drivers and passengers to wear a helmet, carry some form of government-issued photo identification and wear safety glasses or goggles if the moped lacks a windshield.
For more information on the new moped regulations, visit www.dmvnow.com/mopeds.
Also effective today, the $64 annual hybrid vehicle tax is repealed. Owners who pre-paid their hybrid vehicle registrations for future years should receive refund checks, according to the DMV.
A final law affecting motorists is that vehicles now must give a three-foot clearance to bicyclists. The former law required two feet of clearance.
“This extra foot of clearance makes streets much safer for cyclists,” Champe Burnley, president of the Virginia Bicycling Federation, said in a press release. “We hope that drivers will use extra care when they pass a rider and avoid potential crashes.”
Last year, eight people died and more than 600 were injured in crashes involving bicycles in Virginia.
Another law taking effect today allows hunting on Sundays under certain conditions. The bill prohibits hunting within 200 yards of a place of worship and also prohibits using dogs to hunt on Sundays.
Also in the public-safety realm, DMV will require the installation of an ignition interlock device for anyone convicted of a first-offense driving under the influence of alcohol charge.