The new year will bring a number of changes to the Motor Vehicle Act including a doubling of fines for distracted driving. Drivers convicted of distracted driving will face a $280 fine and five demerit points.

The fine for passing a school bus with red lights flashing will also double to $480 and six demerit points. 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.

Other changes include “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 – and – clarifying how suspensions related to drug-recognition evaluations will be imposed and allowing police officers to impose zero-tolerance provisions on novice drivers following a standard field sobriety test.”