car with its headlights turned on at sunset

5 North Dakota Driving Laws You Should Know

Know the Rules of the Road

Whether you’re a new driver in North Dakota or just need a refresher on some of the state laws, it’s important that every driver be aware of their legal responsibilities when on the road. Here are a few of the most important North Dakota driving laws to keep in mind:

1. Children Under 8 Years Old Must Be in a Car Seat.

While every person under 18 in North Dakota must be appropriately restrained in the vehicle no matter where they are sitting, those aged 8 and younger must be secured in a car or booster seat. The only exception is if the child is taller than 4'9". Drivers who fail to comply with this rule can be fined and receive a point against their license, as it is their duty to ensure that all passengers are buckled up.

Other recommendations from the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) include:

  • Children should be rear-facing until at least age 2.
  • Children should use a forward-facing car seat once they have outgrown the rear-facing option.
  • Booster seats should only be used by children who are at least 40 pounds and 4 years of age.

Ultimately, switching to a different restraint primarily depends on the child's height and weight, so check the manufacturer's requirements before using.

2. You Can Make a Left Turn at a Red Light.

One commonly overlooked law is that North Dakota drivers are permitted to turn left on a red light if turning from a one-way street onto a one-way street. However, if there is a sign that indicates no left turns are allowed, drivers must obey this sign.

3. Distracted Driving Can Cost You.

Despite the numerous campaigns and initiatives to combat all types of distracted driving, it remains a persistent issue on all US roads. From using a cellular device to having a pet in the car, there are many ways someone can become distracted. Because of this, North Dakota law permits an officer to fine a motorist $100 if they commit a traffic violation and are found to be distracted.

The exception to this is that those found texting and driving do not have to commit another violation in order to be ticketed and fined. Officers may pull over someone simply for texting when behind the wheel.

4. You Can Be Jailed for a Hit-and-Run.

Being involved in a collision of any magnitude can be scary for any driver, but especially for those with specific circumstances such as little or no insurance, an expired license, or other situations that may cause them to flee. However, it's important to know that a hit-and-run can result in felony charges if someone were to die at the scene.

Even if there isn't a fatality, drivers who leave the scene of an accident where someone was injured or property damaged run the risk of being fined thousands of dollars and the possibility of jail time.

5. Headlights Are Required from Sunset to Sunrise.

North Dakota is one of the few states that explicitly outlines when drivers must use their headlights. In most cases, it's as simple as "sunset to sunrise," but they are also required during adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, and fog.

Furthermore, farm vehicles that are being operated on highways should turn on their headlights no later than 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes after sunrise.

Car Accident? Call Pringle & Herigstad, P.C.

Negligent non-compliance with these laws puts the driver and every other road user at risk of a collision. Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. helps injured individuals and their families hold negligent individuals accountable for the damages they cause. If you’re in need of legal assistance, call (855) 245-5100 today to discuss your options.

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