Missouri laws effective Aug. 28 cover emergency zones, plates, insurance

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Multiple new laws in Missouri that take effect on Wednesday, Aug. 28, cover driving around emergency scenes, truck plates and proof of insurance.

One change increases penalties for dangerous driving in an “emergency zone.”

The new law authorizes $35 fines, in addition to any other fine, for traffic violations committed near emergency scenes. The affected areas include those marked by emergency responders on or near the roadway.

Fines of $250 are authorized for anyone caught speeding or passing in an emergency zone, plus any existing penalties.

The new law also creates an offense of endangering an emergency responder if, when a worker is present, offenders are caught exceeding the posted limit by at least 15 mph, passing another vehicle, and driving in any lane off limits for travelers in the affected area.

Offenders would face fines up to $1,000. If injury or death results, fines increase to as much as $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Another new law offers an additional license plate for about 225,000 large trucks registered in the state.

Existing Missouri law limits property-carrying trucks weighing more than 12,000 pounds to one license plate.

The new rule allows affected truck owners to request a second plate. The state can charge $15 for the additional plate.

According to a fiscal note, the plates could raise another $337,000 each year for state and local transportation work. Three-quarters of new revenue is slated to the state’s highway fund. Cities will get 15 percent and counties will get the other 10 percent.

Plates will include “distinguishing marks” indicating one is for the front of the truck and the other is for the rear.

A separate law is intended to simplify providing proof of vehicle insurance. No longer will drivers need to provide a paper copy of their insurance card to law enforcement officers.

Truckers and motorists can provide an electronic copy of their insurance when prompted.

Missouri is one of 27 states to adopt the policy, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Seventeen states have approved electronic proof in 2013.

The Missouri law relieves law enforcement from any liability for damage to an electronic device when it’s presented as proof of insurance. However, willful or malicious actions that cause damage to a device aren’t protected.

One more rule change taking effect clarifies the state’s rules on red-light runners.

The change prohibits ticketing vehicle owners if the vehicle entered the intersection before the light turned red. The new state law supersedes any local rules.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri, click here.

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