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Celebrate July with New Vehicle Use Laws


Much of our work at Altizer Law, P.C., arises out of the negligent use of vehicles.  On a daily basis, we see the devastation and pain caused by vehicular negligence.  For that reason, we are keenly aware of safety on the road and the laws regarding the operation and use of vehicles.  July 1st is often the enactment dateno smoking law for new vehicle use laws in Virginia, and this year is no exception.  Here are a few

It is now unlawful for any person to smoke in a vehicle when a child under the age of eight is present in the vehicle.  It does not matter whether the vehicle is in motion or not.  “Smoke” is defined as “to carry or hold any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind or any other lighted smoking equipment or to light or inhale or exhale smoke from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind or any other lighted smoking equipment.”  Code of Virginia Sec. 46.2-810.1.  This law appears to apply to everyone in the vehicle, not just the driver.  A violation of this law is a secondary offense, meaning that a vehicle cannot be stopped just because of a person smoking with a child under eight in the vehicle, but a citation may be issued if the vehicle is stopped for a violation of some other offense.  The fine for a violation of this statute is $100.00, and court costs may not be assessed.

Another new statute provides that “[n]o operator shall open the door of a parked motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving vehicular traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so.”  Code of Virginia Sec. 46.2-818.1.  Basically, this statute requires that you be careful and pay attention before opening the door of your vehicle near moving traffic.  Who says you can’t regulate common sense?  A violation of this statute can be punished by a fine of not more than $50.00.

While you cannot control the actions of others, by following all traffic and safety laws, you can help to minimize the chance of being injured in a collision.  Be safe.