To protect citizens and maintain order within the state, legislators revisit old laws and create new ones. A number of new Kentucky law changes are coming in 2020. As a resident of the state, it’s important to be aware of the changes so you have an idea of how they could impact you.
The Law Office of Todd W. Burris knows about these new law changes and we’re here to share the information with you. While it’s likely you’ll hear about more laws as the year progresses, the ones we’ll discuss here involve the tobacco purchase age limit, vision requirements for drivers, and updates to the ignition interlock device system.
Examining the Tobacco Purchase Age Limit
Back in April 2019, Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky’s Senior U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell announced his plans to introduce legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in Louisville. The bipartisan bill was introduced in conjunction with Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia after a rise in vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
Days before 2020 began, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially changed the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The law is designed to make regulated tobacco products less accessible to young people. This came as part of a $1.4 trillion spending package signed by the president. It is still unclear, however, how the change will be enacted. The FDA has six months to amend the policy, so citizens could see changes as the year progresses.
New Vision Testing Requirements for Drivers
Visual acuity and field are among the most important factors for safe driving. Visual acuity refers to how clearly you can see, while visual field refers to how wide of an area your eye can see when you’re focusing on a central point. Drivers who neglect to take care of vision problems are at risk of causing preventable accidents. Because of that new Kentucky drivers are required to complete vision testing prior to being eligible for a license. Previously, that law did not extend to renewal; however, the law has recently been updated.
House Bill 441 requires vision testing for driver’s license renewal. A trained vision assessor completes the examination and determines if the driver’s vision is good enough to safely operate a vehicle. A person must have a visual acuity of 20/40 to be qualified to drive. If they fail to meet that level, the assessor will refer the person to a vision specialist for an examination. They are required to have corrective measures in place before attempting to renew their license again.
Offering DUI Offenders Ignition Interlock Devices
While the new law regarding Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) was passed back in early 2019, it doesn’t go into effect until 2020. Now, IID will be available to nearly all drunk driving offenders. First-time offenders are incentivized to install the system by facing less severe legal consequences. If they choose to forgo the IID, the penalties will be more rigid. All repeat offenders are required to have the IID installed.
Eligibility for an IID is based on the past five years of a driver’s record. The court will inform a convicted DUI driver if they’re eligible for the program. If they are, an application needs to be filled out and associated fees need to be paid. Once the device has been installed by a Certified Ignition Interlock Installer, a person can only drive in the car if they blow into the device that detects alcohol content in the body. If the driver is sober, the vehicle will start.
Even though the IID program exists to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents, there’s no way to completely prevent people from driving under the influence. When they choose to, they’re putting the lives of others at risk. If you’ve been involved in a traffic crash and sustained injuries or economic losses, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek recovery.
The Law Office of Todd W. Burris strives to provide our clients with the best presentation possible. No matter what area of litigation your case falls under, we’ll investigate what happened, determine how you were affected, and seek compensation that will let you get your life back on track.
Part of building successful cases for our clients involves staying up-to-date with state and federal law changes. If you have questions about the changes we discussed above or you want more information on personal injury law, contact us today.