Aside from the gas tax, drivers should prepare for two other laws that take effect in Alabama on Sunday —the Anti-Road Rage Act and a change to the seat belt law.

The Anti-Road Rage Act requires drivers to stay in the right lane on Alabama interstates, unless passing another vehicle. If motorists drive in the left lane for more than 1.5 miles, they are subject to receive a citation. There are exceptions for road hazards, traffic congestion and moving over for emergency response vehicles.

When the bill was passed in April, legislators said the intent of the law is to reduce the risk of accidents and violence that can ensue from drivers getting angry because slower drivers impede traffic.

Although the new law does not apply to all major highways, Donald Barnard, who is a resident of Boaz and frequent traveler of U.S. Highway 431, believes it should.

“This road rage law should apply to U.S. Highway 431,” he said. “We have about 30,000 vehicles driving on 431 every day … that’s a number I came up with after I found a study done a few years ago that said there were 26,000. We have a lot more people here driving that highway now, so I just figure it’s close to 30,000.

“The people of this area know 431 is worse for slow drivers in the left lane than on the interstate,” Barnard continued. “I suggest Gov. [Kay] Ivey issue an executive order that 431 be covered under the road rage law. She’d have to overrule the highway department, but it would be worth it. All multi-lane highways should be included.”

The new seat belt law requires all passengers to buckle up.

Before, the law only required the driver and front seat passenger to wear a seat belt. Now, passengers riding in the back seats of a vehicle must buckle up.

The Alabama Department of Transportation recently reported 60% of people currently dying in vehicle accidents do not wear seat belts.

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I am assuming (because I haven't received an official response yet) this new law requiring ALL passengers to wear seatbelts will automatically preclude anyone (including the current 17+ yr old) from riding in the back of a pickup truck. Several unsuccessful attempts have been made to change the law on riding in pickups; perhaps this new change will do the job !!

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