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TheStreet Open House

Tough new laws for texters, teens, drunks

Drivers are prohibited from using an electronic handheld device in any capacity while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway unless a hands-free device is used.  Previously, it was just illegal to use a hand-held cellphone in construction and school zones for adult drivers. The law continues a ban on wireless device use by drivers under age 18 and texting while driving for all drivers.

New cellphone law is a primary offense that comes with a fine of $75 for a first offense $100 for second, $125 for third offense and $150 for each subsequent offense.  After a forth offense, the Secretary of State has the power to suspend a person's driver's license.  A first offense is not considered a moving violation, but subsequent offenses are.

Iowa:  New law affects teen drivers.

All young drivers are required to carry an instruction permit for a full year, up from just six months, before they can apply for an intermediate license. 

Unsupervised young drivers are now only allowed one unrelated minor passenger during the first six months of holding an intermediate license. 

Young drivers with a minor school license are also restricted to just one unrelated minor passenger when driving without adult supervision.

A different law transitions full driver's license from being valid five years to eight years, excluding minors and temporary foreign nationals.  At age 72, though, licenses shift to a two-year renewal period.

Nevada:  New laws include a driver authorization card and update to length of license validity.

Nevada residents unable to meet citizenship requirements for a standard driver's license can apply for a driver authorization card. The DMV is prohibited with sharing information for immigration enforcement purposes.

Validity for most drivers' licenses will lengthen to eight years from just four.  Drivers age 65 or older will still continue to renew their license every four years. 

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