Two New Traffic Laws


David Reynolds, Writer

In September, two new traffic laws were put in place. There is a 60-day grace period, which will be over on November 1. 

The first law is that backseat passengers must wear a seatbelt. It wasn’t required in the past. A ticket for it could only is given if someone was pulled over and there was a person in the backseat without a seatbelt, an example of a secondary violation. This law was put in place likely due to the 30% of backseat passengers between the age of 20-54 that do not have seatbelts on, stated by CBS News. If the passenger is a licensed driver, they will get the ticket. If they aren’t, the driver will get the ticket. 

Ralph Dawe, a Madison City police officer and Bob Jones SRO, discussed the laws. “I personally do not recall witnessing any motor vehicle accident that I can definitely say caused injury to a backseat passenger that was, by their own admission, not buckled. But my opinion would be that buckling up in any seating position wouldn’t hurt and would probably be wise since it’s Alabama law.”

Most students polled said that they already buckle up when riding in the back seat. Sarah Roach, one of Bob Jones’s licensed student drivers, believes the first law is “important because it keeps people safe. You never know when you’re going to get into an accident.”

The second law is that the left lane cannot be driven on for more than a mile and a half. This law is meant to ease congestion and reduce road rage. There are some exceptions. stated that if there is bad weather (for example, bad puddling after a rain), road hazards, or construction, you will not receive a ticket.

About enforcing that law, Officer Dawe said, “I’m not sure exactly how the new Road Rage/Left Lane Driving law will be enforced as of yet. When new laws are created, specifically ones like these, it takes time to see how courts and judges respond to how officers enforce them. I would imagine an officer would have to be following the violator at some point in order to observe the violation and write a citation for it. Time will tell and the courts will eventually set a precedent that officers can follow.” When asked about seeing road rage related incidents he stated, “Of those I’ve witnessed, I have mostly been off duty. Surprisingly, people tend to abide by the law when a marked police vehicle is nearby.”

If either of these laws is broken, a ticket of up to $200 will be issued, according to