Seat Belt

Alabama’s Drivers and Businesses Affected by New Laws

With the beginning of September, a few new laws will be implemented in the State of Alabama. Up until 2019, Alabama was one of the rare states which have never enacted its equal pay provision. However, that changed earlier this year, and the law will start being enforced on September 1.

According to the Act, employers are not allowed to pay any employee less because of their gender or race. Those who suspect they have not been paid fairly as a result of discrimination can now sue in both state and federal court. Affected employees have up to two years to file their lawsuits in state court. The new law also alters the kinds of pay records each employer needs to keep. It affects both public and private employers, and it does not exclude small businesses.

After Alabama has passed the equal pay provision, Mississippi became the last U.S. state lacking an equal pay law.

Another two laws will be enforced from September 1, this time affecting Alabama drivers. From now on, all car passengers, including people riding in the backseat, will need to wear a seatbelt. Before September, backseat passengers needed to buckle up only if they were children. According to the new law, neglecting to wear a seatbelt is a secondary violation. This means that if an officer stops a car for a different reason, they can issue a ticket.

According to the reports from Alabama’s Department of Transportation, in 2017, 60% of those who died in traffic accidents did not have a seatbelt on.

Marie Crew has stated that this law is “a big step” that they have been working towards for a long time. As the director of SAFE Kids Alabama, Crew believes that there is still “a long way to go.” The seatbelt law affecting backseat passengers is a step in the right direction, according to Crew. However, she still notices other safety issues, especially those pertaining to the young population.

Crew has stated that Alabama is behind when it comes to any legislation regarding hands-free technology. According to the research, she said, if utilizing hands-free technology was a requirement, roads would be much safer.

She has pointed out that the safety percentages of Alabama’s teen drivers are “alarmingly high.” The crew has also emphasized that the leading cause of injury and death for Alabamian teens remain motor vehicle crashes.

Another new law will force some drivers to change where they drive on the highways in Alabama. According to the “anti-road rage act,” driving in the left lane without passing for more than 1.5 miles now creates a violation. The intent of this act is to free the left lane from slow drivers, thus preventing slowdowns in traffic on the highway. The law makes exceptions for congestion, left exits, construction, and severe weather.

For the first 60 days, instead of tickets, officers will be issuing warnings.

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