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article imageNew laws going into effect in the United States January 1

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By Mike White     Dec 19, 2013 in World
With the new year soon to begin, a variety of new laws will pass in the U.S. on January 1. Drivers, married couples and those facing a funeral will be affected.
In Illinois, drivers under the age of the 19 will face more severe charges if accused of the aggravated use of a wireless device, according to ABC.
Currently, anyone that age who is accused of causing an accident with injuries while using a wireless device would be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. After the new year starts, however, they will face a Class 4 Felony, according to a news release from the DuPage County Sheriff's Office.
Another new law will ban drivers from having any form of video device applications operating if a driver can see the device while operating his car. In addition, it against the law to use a handheld electronic communication device while driving. The operation of a GPS will not be illegal, however.
According to kfvs12.com, the new law banning a handheld communication device will mean drivers can face a fine of $75 for texting while driving, if a first offense and $25 more for each offense, up to $150.
"With texting previously you couldn't tell if they were texting or dialing a phone number. So it was a '50-50' gamble how you were going to come out in the end," Marion Chief of Police John Eibeck commented on the difference between the old law and the new law. "Where now even if they're dialing they're going to be in violation."
The Dallas News reported that in Texas when a funeral provider named in a contract with a customer closes, he must notify the customer of his plan to close. According to the News, the $3 billion funeral industry in Texas has been plagued with scandals.
The Denver Post reported new guidelines will go into effect for alimony to help calculate the duration and amount to be paid for marriages that had lasted from three to 20 years in length. The combine annual combined income in the marriage cannot exceed $240,000. The guidelines are only advisory, so experts are not sure how they will be followed.
The guidelines will calculate support by considering 40 percent of the higher income earner's monthly income and subtracting 50 percent of the lower earner's monthly income.
The Newton Independent reported on two changes that will affect young drivers in Iowa.
Under provisions of one new law a young driver will have to carry an instruction permit for 12 months before applying for an intermediate driver's license. Currently such a driver has to carry such a permit for only six months.
Another change will allow a young driver to have only one unrelated minor passenger in the car with him during his first six months as a licensed driver. The law was reportedly designed to reduce distractions for young drivers.
Parents of the drivers can waive this restriction. Such a waiver is only valid, however, when the intermediate license is issued.
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