Mississippians may notice some changes on the roads and in the courts after July 1st.
A new law called the Kaelin Kersh Act requires operators of emergency vehicles to use their emergency lights when traveling at more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. Last year, Kersh, a track athlete died in a tragic wreck in Starkville two days after graduation. The car she was riding in was hit by a Mississippi Highway Patrol Officer driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed without the emergency lights activated. Oxford Police Department Captain Hildon Sessums.
"We've already sent out the law to all of our officers. We do kind of a legal update every year when all these laws are passed. blue lights will be activated," said Sessums.
Also now on the books is a law that prohibits driving in the farthest left lane when there are two more lanes going in the same direction. The goal is to improve traffic flow. The exceptions are when passing another vehicle or when the right lanes are closed due to construction. People can drive in the farthest left lane when it doesn't slow down traffic. Drivers could face a fine of $5 to $50. For those who can't afford to pay traffic tickets and other fines, a new law prevents them from being put in jail. Democratic State Representative Kabir Karriem of Columbus advocated for the law earlier this year.
"It gets rid of debtor's prison and it won't suspend driver's licenses. There's a lot of things in that bill that will help people," said Karriem.
Karriem says the court has to determine a person's ability to pay. A judge may allow additional time to pay fines, approve making payments or revoke the fines altogether. The person may also perform community service at the state minimum wage rate.