Thursday, February 6, 2014

New California Traffic Laws That Have Already Taken Effect This Year

Road rules and regulations in California continue to change, especially every first day of a new year. Existing laws that have been in effect in the state for the longest time are expected to be overlapped with certain amendments, providing a safer, well-constructed traffic environment in California which would benefit all the state’s road users. These laws are passed by Governor Jerry Brown, thanks largely through the efforts of the California legislature, both the state’s Assembly and Senate. The additions to the already-established traffic laws are enforced by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), alongside other entities such as county police departments,

Here are some of the new California traffic rules that have already taken effect since January 1 of this year:

•    Senate Bill (SB) 194. This amends the already existing anti-texting laws in the state, and targets teenage drivers. The bill states that it is illegal for a driver who is under 18 years old to use a wireless telecommunications device to read, send, and create a text-based message while driving a motor vehicle, even if the device has a hands-free device installed.

•    Assembly Bill (AB) 1047. This newly-signed bill allows California DMV to conduct commercial drive tests to individuals with commercial learner’s permits obtained from outside the state. Applicants’ information would then be electronically transferred to their respective DMVs in their home states. Aside from that, requirements on bus operation have been altered. Here, drivers operating buses more than 26,000 pounds are required to hold Class B licenses, while those who operate buses that are 26,000 pounds or less are required to hold Class C licenses.

•    SB 717. This amends an already existing California law on driving under the influence (DUI). Here, a search warrant can be served on a driver who decides not to undergo or fails to complete a blood test. A law enforcement officer may issue a search warrant, authorizing him or her to draw blood from the driver through a manner that is clinically approved.

•    AB 184. This amends the currently existing statutes of limitations on hit-and-run accidents. Here, hit-and-run victims and/or their families can file charges against the negligent party within six years from the date of injury or death.

Meanwhile, another law to look out for this year is the AB 1317, also known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, which will be made effective on September of this year. According to a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, upon implementation, a motor vehicle driver trying to pass a bicycle moving at the same direction as the traffic must maintain a distance of no less than 3 feet between the driver the cyclist. The attorney added that failure to do so may cause the passing driver to face fines, regardless if an accident happened or not.


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