“Joshua’s Law,” others to take effect Monday

Several pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2005 and 2006 will go into effect on Monday the 1st. Included in these is “Joshua’s Law,” which will require that teenagers complete 40 hours of adult-supervised driving (including at least 6 hours at night), and either successfully complete an approved Driver’s Ed program, or turn 17, before applying for a driver’s license.

According to AccessNorthGA:

The teen driver measure was passed in 2005 but a lag time was built in to get a new Georgia Driver Education Commission up and running. “Joshua’s Law” was named after Cartersville teen, Joshua Brown, who was killed in a vehicle accident. Alan Brown said his son had insufficient experience in the road conditions he encountered.Perdue signed the measure in 2005 but questioned the funding mechanism. The law imposes a 5 percent surcharge on traffic fines to help pay for the driver’s ed courses. Students unable to take a course at their local schools would have to pay for private courses or wait a year for their license, under the law.

Another law taking effect on the first day of 2007 requires that newborn babies be screened for 28 different disorders (up from the 13 that Georgia currently tests for).

The tests are conducted on a single sample of blood drawn from a baby soon after birth. The cost, about $40, is covered by insurance. Some 135,000 babies are born in Georgia every year.The state Department of Human Resources estimates that 88 children will be identified each year with treatable conditions that cause mental retardation, developmental disability or death, according to the Georgia chapter of the March of Dimes.

And third:

A new law will now link toll violations to the vehicle that passed through the toll booth without paying, rather than the driver. Motorists had been able to argue that they weren’t behind the wheel when the toll wasn’t paid.Last year’s unpaid tolls and surcharges amounted to $906,000. Some drivers have hundreds of violations worth thousands of dollars, according to the state Road and Tollway Authority.

The new legislation would fine the car owner $70 per violation, regardless of whether he or she was driving. The owner’s registration would be revoked upon failure to pay up

Lisa Thompson, a spokeswoman for the state Road and Tollway Authority, said news earlier this year the law had passed already seemed to be having an effect.

“We immediately started receiving phone calls from people with outstanding violation notices who were offering to pay,” Thompson said.

New year, new laws.

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