Two new highway laws that went into effect on Sept. 1 in Alabama attempt to combat left-lane road rage and unbuckled passengers, according to media reports.
One new rule mandates that all motor vehicle passengers including those in the backseat must now buckle up, reports the Andalusia Star News.
Another law mandates that motorists may not drive more than 1.5 miles in the left lane on divided highways and interstates without passing other vehicles or turning left, reports Moulton Advertiser. Also know as the Anti-Road Rage Act, the law is intended to keep slow drivers out of the left lane.
State law enforcement has endorsed the new measures, noting that they are good laws designed to save lives, according to reports. State law previously required only drivers, front seat passengers and minors in the backseat to wear seat belts.
The state's Department of Transportation statistics indicate that 47% of the 37,133 people who lost their lives in collisions in 2017 were unbelted, notes the Star News. Worse still, data from 2016 shows that back seat passengers tend to wear their seat belts less often because they falsely believe they are safer than those seated in the front of the vehicle. However, some 57% of back seat vehicle occupants who died in crashes were unrestrained.
Penalties for violating the new laws vary by jurisdiction, but are about $25 or $30 plus court fess. Law enforcement will only be handing out warnings for the first 60 days of the Anti-Road Rage Act due to a grace period, according to reports.