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These laws go into effect July 1 in Kentucky and Indiana

The laws mainly focus on keeping drivers safe, including a law making it illegal to hold your phone while driving in Indiana.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A handful of new laws go into effect on July 1 in Kentucky and Indiana and many of them are focused on increasing safety on the roads.

The biggest change will be for drivers in Indiana as the state begins enforcing a hands-free device law. The law makes it illegal to drive while holding a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, unless you're calling 911 in an emergency. 

Drivers found in violation of the new law will be cited and can face fines up to $500 for the first year the law is in effect. Starting in July of next year, points could be assessed to the offender's driver's license. 

Tobacco laws in Indiana are stricter now after the passage of a bill aimed at keeping tobacco products away from young people. The minimum age for buying tobacco products in the state is now 21. 

Although a federal law raised the minimum age last year, the punishments for non-compliant businesses in Indiana are more severe. Fines for businesses in Indiana that sell to minors have been doubled from $200 to $400.

RELATED: Indiana lawmakers agree on tougher tobacco sales penalties

In Kentucky, DUI laws are now stronger as ignition lock devices will now be available to all drunk driving offenders. The devices help increase accountability by keeping offenders from starting their cars if they have alcohol in their system.

First-time offenders will be able to choose to have an ignition lock device installed in exchange for lighter penalties. Repeat offenders will be required to use one.

The lock will only be removed after a 120-day period of sober driving.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article said Kentucky drivers would have to go through a vision test before they could renew their licenses. While this bill has been introduced in the state, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said it has not been passed and is not an active law. The above version has been corrected.

Contact reporter Rob Harris atrjharris@whas11.com. Follow him onTwitter (@robharristv) andFacebook


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