[r82] COLUMN: New motor laws in the New Year

Friday, January 2, 2015

New motor laws in the New Year

The new year has begun which brings with it a clean slate and many exciting opportunities. A new year also means laws that recently went into effect on Jan. 1. One of my 2015 New Year’s resolutions is to keep you more informed about what is happening in the Legislature, so I wanted to provide you with some information about some of the changes that will be taking place.

Effective Jan. 1, there are multiple laws that impact Hoosier motorists. One new law, which you might have heard of, affects individuals that drive scooters, mopeds or motorcycles as a means of transportation. This bill defines scooters, mopeds and motorcycles into two classes: Class A or Class B.

To drive a Class A vehicle, which is anything over 50 cubic centimeters, you are required to pass a motorcycle examination and have a valid driver’s insurance, registration and license plate. For Class B cycles, which include a lower-powered moped or scooter, the law requires a state ID, along with a motor driven cycle endorsement, registration and license plate. However, Class B does not require the driver to have insurance. This law will help keep motorists safe and hold operators of motor driven cycles accountable.

To further protect Hoosier motorists, we passed additional legislation intending to deter motorists from driving without insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council, Indiana is among the top 10 states for uninsured motorists, which is why it was so important for us to address this issue.

These new laws are not the only changes we made that affect Hoosier motorists. In the beginning of July, House Enrolled Act 1080 went into effect which allows motorcyclists to proceed through a red light under certain circumstances.

Because of their light weight, motorcycles were not always detected by the traffic signal and therefore, had to wait long periods of time. This law gives motorcyclists a safe and legal method to proceed through the left turn lane; if they have been waiting longer than two minutes and no other vehicles are crossing the intersection.

The new motor laws discussed above are currently in effect and may impact your driving habits today. I want our community and motorists to be aware of these changes so that Hoosier families can continue to travel safely on our roadways.

Several other laws, falling under numerous categories, went in to effect Jan. 1 as well. If you are interested in learning more about these new laws or any legislation that was passed in the 2014 legislative session, visit iga.in.gov/ legislative/2014/bills/.

A new year also means a new legislative session, and I look forward to moving Indiana forward in critical areas impacting our state. Some of those areas include: the biennial budget, education, public safety and ethics. I encourage you to contact my office by email with your feedback at h82@iga.in.gov. This will provide me with guidance as I work with my colleagues to address the issues impacting our community.

I appreciate your time and look forward to serving you this session.

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Rep. Ober represents all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.