Shortly after moving from Texas to California, I was pulled over while driving to Los Angeles. I frantically checked my speed (it was within the limit) and thought I was just being pulled over because I had out of state plates (this has happened before)… WRONG. California does not allow you to drive while talking on a cell phone (unless you are using a hands free device). Yikes- a ticket. After speaking with fellow military families, I am not the only one who has gotten in a bit of trouble not knowing about the laws in a different state. Here are some state laws you should be aware of:



  • Speed limits: States have different speed limit laws. You can find details here on the Governors Highway Safety Association website which states; “Several states have set different speed limits for cars and trucks. Speed limits may vary depending on whether the roadway is urban or rural. Some states apply different speed limits to the same type of roadway, depending on various conditions. In some states, the nighttime and daytime speed limits are different as well.” Here is a list of speed limits by state.
  • Seatbelts: “Seat belt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction.” More information and state by state details found here on the Governors Highway Safety Association website.
  • Phone Usage laws: This is where I messed up; find each states policy on distracted driving here.


Firearms: When moving or shipping firearms within or to the CONUS, you must comply with local and/or state laws, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulations. This interactive website allows you to browse firearm laws on a state by state basis. If you plan to live on post/base, please always check their specific housing requirements. More information can be found on page 15 of this document from, detailing handling your firearm shipment for a move.


Alcohol Beverage shipping policies, for a military move, can be found here on page 32 of this document from


Minimum wage laws vary by state. Check out the list here. (D.C. is the current highest at $9.50 an hour.)


Unemployment benefits also vary from state to state. Some offer unemployment to military spouses who are forced to leave their current job because of their spouse’s new orders. You can apply for benefits in the state where you have relocated. There is not a simple guide for this since each state has its own process. You can use this site to find a state by state guide.


Voter identification
This website, Long Distance Voter, not only breaks down the voter identification laws for each state, it gives a link to the absentee voter forms, which many military families need since we are not living in our state of residence!


Have you been surprised by a state law after move? Please share in the comments!


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