Several new laws went into effect last week in North Carolina as the state tries to address its high truck crash rate.
The state is ranked fourth in the nation in the number of truck-related fatalities and has a fatality rate higher than the national average.
Under a new law that went into effect Dec. 1, fleets can fined when their drivers or vehicles are ordered out of service the first time. The most common fines are expected to be for brake and tire violations and will range from $50 to $100. Other states have had first-offense fines for some time.
North Carolina enforcement officials will also be able to double the fine or driver's license points against commercial truck drivers for moving violations.
The new law makes it illegal to have alcoholic beverages - opened or unopened - in the passenger area. (Passenger vehicles, however, can still carry unopened beverages.)
Fines against speeding in highway construction work zones were also increased, for both cars and trucks, to a minimum of $250. The old minimum was $100.
Another new law calls for fines when a person points a laser pointer at a police officer or at someone's face or head.