The first day of the New Year brings some significant changes to laws dealing with distracted driving. As of today drivers convicted of distracted driving will face a fine of $280 and five demerit points.

The fine for passing a school bus with red lights flashing will also double to $480 and six demerit points. In addition – the law also now includes “allowing prosecution of the registered owner or lessee of a vehicle for passing a stopped school bus unless that person can establish that someone else was operating the motor vehicle.”

Other changes include extending “Move Over – Slow Down” provisions to include tow trucks – highway maintenance vehicles – and public and private utility vehicles with lights flashing. The maximum speed under “Move Over – Slow Down” is now set at half of the posted speed limit.