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Heads Up, Missouri Drivers: New Traffic Laws Likely Affect You

Laws establish an 'active emergency zone,' allow electronic proof of insurance, set new license and insurance requirements for trailers and ATVs

Article | | By Jennifer Davidson

Several new Missouri laws regarding traffic and roadways are going into effect soon. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has more.

Captain Tim Hull with the Missouri State Highway Patrol just completed his annual training on the new laws. Each year, the patrol briefs its troopers on new laws, or changes to existing laws – and it’s also trying to educate the public about them.

Hull says one law increases the penalty for a violation or traffic offense within an “active emergency zone.” (HB 103). An active emergency zone can be a temporary accident or fire zone, or any place where there are signs or barrels indicating emergency responders are at work.

“The bill makes it a Class C Misdemeanor to pass another vehicle in an active emergency zone. And a person who pleads guilty to or is convicted of a speeding or passing violation must be assessed a fine of $250 for a first offense and $300 for a second, or subsequent offense,” Hull said.

Drivers will be on the hook for that offense if they pass another vehicle in that emergency zone, fail to stop for a flagman or emergency responder, or try to drive around the zone in a lane that’s not open to motorists.

Also, if you’re pulled over for a traffic violation, you can now show electronic proof of your auto insurance if you prefer that to opening the glove compartment and reaching for a paper document, Hull said.

“The acceptable electronic forms includes a display on an electric image on a cellular phone, or other type of portable electronic device,” Hull said.

And farmers pulling trailers or other loads weighing more than 12,000 pounds can now get a duplicate license plate on the very back of their trailers. That’s not mandatory, Hull said, but he can see where it would be helpful.

“Sometimes, we get calls from other states that have a vehicle from Missouri stopped that only has one license plate on it. And people are trying to explain to them that they’re only issued one license plate. And the officer alongside the road is not aware of that, and it has to be explained to them. So this gives them that option now,” Hull said.

Another new traffic law going into effect allows municipalities to decide whether to allow all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, on their city streets, as long as the operator has liability coverage for that vehicle.

Since Governor Jay Nixon signed these bills into law, most go into effect August 28, 2013.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.

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