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New driving, safe haven laws in effect

Adair County Sheriff Deputy James Paup executes a routine traffic stop west of Greenfield in June. According to Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer, Iowa’s “move over” law was upgraded July 1 to include any vehicle on the side of the road with its flashers activated.
Adair County Sheriff Deputy James Paup executes a routine traffic stop west of Greenfield in June. According to Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer, Iowa’s “move over” law was upgraded July 1 to include any vehicle on the side of the road with its flashers activated.

With the start of the state’s new fiscal year comes the implementation of new legislation. The majority of these new laws are revisions of or additions to pre-existing laws.

Move over

This new piece of legislation is not a brand new law, but additional rule. Iowa has had a Move Over law since 2002, requiring drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles pulled over on the side of the road. Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer explained that the law started out as an officer safety issue, requiring vehicles to move over to reduce risk of police officers being struck by traffic while performing duties on the side of the road.

“It works fairly well,” said Ver Meer. “I know, just driving my personal vehicle, I see a lot of people moving over for emergency vehicles.”

The new rule expands on the original law, now requiring that drivers move over or slow down for all vehicles with their emergency and caution lights flashing on the side of the road, from utility trucks to passenger cars.

Ver Meer asks that citizens simply remember to “move over if it’s safe to do so and, if not, just slow down.”

Safe haven

Another revision of a pre-existing law, the specifics of the Newborn Safe Haven Act of Iowa have changed in two key ways. First, infants can now be voluntarily surrendered for foster care placement within their first 30 days of life. Prior to the change, the law only applied to “a child who is, or who appears to be, fourteen days of age or younger,” as stated in Iowa Code 233.1(2)b.

The other change will affect how infants are surrendered; previously, state code stated that newborns had to be surrendered at an “institutional health facility.” Now, parents can call 911 to surrender their child to a first responder rather than taking them to a facility themselves.

Ignition interlocks

Those with a suspended license in Iowa can apply for a temporary restricted license, or TRL, for necessary commuting — such as for work or school. As of July 1, anyone who has had their license suspended for driving while intoxicated must install an ignition interlock device to use a TRL. Only repeat offenders were required to use ignition interlocks, previously.

The device only allows the car to start after the driver has registered a 0 percent blood-alcohol level through a breathalyzer test. Drivers are responsible for the lease and cost of installation of the devices.

Other notable changes in legislation include:

— A permit is no longer required to carry a non-projectile stun gun.

— Establishments serving and selling liquor can now only be held liable for up to $250,000, should they serve a visibly intoxicated person who injures or kills someone as a result of drunk driving.

— This legislation is being commonly referred to as a “sanctuary city ban;” local jurisdictions will lose state funding, should they fail to comply with a new immigration measure, which requires local law enforcement to detain persons suspected of being in the country illegally at the request of federal agents.

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