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TMCNet:  Several new laws aimed at youth [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

[December 31, 2013]

Several new laws aimed at youth [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Teenagers driving in Iowa or tanning in Illinois need to know about some new laws that go into effect this week.

So does anyone planning to use their mobile phone while driving in Illinois.

In Iowa and Illinois, many new laws hit the books Wednesday - the start of the new year. Among them: IOWA Teen driving: New drivers must carry an instruction permit for a year - the former law was six months - before applying for a license. Also, young drivers may have only one unrelated minor in the vehicle for the first six months after obtaining their license.

The permit extension was created to give new drivers training in year-round weather.

"Just to get more supervised practice time and to be able to practice through all four seasons of Iowa's weather," said Iowa Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee.

The new law limiting non- related minor passengers is a safety measure.

"The data showed a huge increase in fatalities and accidents when you had a bunch of kids in the vehicle, especially in the first six months," Bowman said. "As the driver got more experience, it tapered off." Driver's license renewals: The life of driver's license renewals will increase to up to eight years. The new law ultimately increases the renewal period of driver's licenses from five to eight years.

The state Department of Transportation will spread out renewals to avoid a landslide of renewals in 2022. Over the next five years, drivers will randomly receive five-, six, seven- and eight-year licenses.

The measure should save Iowa customers $3.5 million annually and the state DOT $1.8 annually in reduced labor expenses.

Both measures contain an opt-out provision for parents of the young drivers.

"It's kind of a common sense, good thing," said Iowa Rep. Brian Moore, R-Bellevue, vice chair of the House Transportation Committee.

ILLINOIS Teen tanning: Youths under the age of 17 may not use tanning beds. Advocates for the law cited studies that suggest underage tanning leads to cancer.

Teenage voters: A person who is 17 years old may vote in a primary election if he or she will be 18 by the time of that fall's general election.

E-cigarettes to minors: Electronic cigarettes or other forms of nicotine alternatives may not be sold to people less than 18 years of age.

Hands-free mobile phones only: Drivers may use their mobile devices only with hands-free accessories. In other words: phone-to- ear calling is no longer allowed. Bluetooth headsets and speaker phone calls are allowed.

"The number of accidents from distracted driving was the reason for (the law)," said Illinois Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon. "I had mixed emotions on that one. On one hand, is it too much government intervention? On the other hand, was it a public safety issue?" Raised speed limit: The speed limit will be raised from 65 miles per hour to 70 on four-lane highways outside of urban areas.

Medical marijuana: Marijuana may be used to treat medical conditions. The new law has the strongest restrictions in the nation, a state spokesman said.

Boating DUIs: If a person is found guilty of driving while under in the influence on a motorboat, the Secretary of State has the authority to suspend that person's driver's license.

(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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