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Spring break road travelers: Know before you go

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Posted: Friday, March 12, 2010 12:00 am

With spring break finally upon us, many families and students have plans for a much-needed getaway. A large majority of these vacationers will be traveling by car for all or at least part of their trip. Amid the last-minute preparations, however, many people neglect to add one more item to their list: Familiarizing themselves with traffic laws in the states they will be traveling to and through.

To ensure that travelers return home with souvenirs and not citations, below are a few traffic laws Arizonans should know before they hit the road. This list includes laws from states that regularly make AAA Arizona’s top Trip Tik destinations.

 

California

• Hand-held cell phone ban: Only hands-free cell phones are allowed. Teen drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a cell phone, even with hands-free devices.

• Text messaging ban: Drivers are prohibited from texting or e-mailing when driving.

• Child passenger restraints: All children under the age of 6 and under 60 pounds are to be restrained in a child passenger restraint system in the rear seat.

• Move over: Drivers are required to slow down and vacate the lane closest to a stationary emergency response vehicle flashing emergency lights, if safe to do so. This also includes tow trucks and Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) vehicles.

• Pick-up truck bed: Riding in the cargo area of a pick-up truck is not permitted.

• Seat belts: Seat belts are required for drivers and all passengers.

 

Colorado

• Hand-held cell phone ban: Teen drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a cell phone, even with hands-free devices.

• Text messaging ban: Drivers are prohibited from texting when driving.

• Child passenger restraints: All children 5 and under 55 inches shall be properly restrained in a child restraint system.

• Move over: Drivers must reduce speed and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to stationary emergency vehicles and tow vehicles.

• Seat belts: Seat belts are required for drivers and front seat passengers. Children ages 6 until 16 and at least 55 inches must wear seat belts.

 

Nevada

• Child passenger restraints: All children under the age of 6 and under 60 pounds are to be restrained in a child passenger restraint system in the rear seat.

• Move over: Drivers must reduce speed and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to stationary emergency vehicle and tow vehicles.

• Pick-up truck bed: Riding in the cargo area is not permitted for children under the age of 18.

• Seat belts: Seat belts are required for drivers and all passengers.

 

Texas

• Text messaging ban: Austin prohibits drivers from text messaging.

• Child passenger restraints: Children under 8 and less than 57 inches must be secured in a child passenger safety seat system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction.

• Pick-up truck bed: Riding in the cargo area is not permitted for children under the age of 18.

• Move over: Vacate the lane next to a stationary emergency vehicle or slow down to a speed not to exceed 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.

• Seat belts: Seat belts are required for drivers and all passengers.

 

Sonora, Mexico (Rocky Point)

• Proceedings in Mexico: You are assumed guilty until proven innocent. This means that if you are arrested for any reason, you may be jailed until you can prove your innocence.

• Auto insurance: U.S. auto insurance is not valid in Mexico. If a collision occurs, a Mexico auto policy is the only form of insurance the authorities will accept as evidence of financial responsibility. If you cannot provide Mexico auto insurance, you could be arrested and sent to jail.

• Speed limits: Speed limits are posted in kilometers rather than miles per hour.

Motorists interested in purchasing Mexico auto insurance can do so at any AAA branch office or by visiting http://www.aaaaz.com/insurance/mexico.htm.

 

Linda Gorman is the public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or lgorman@arizona.aaa.com.

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