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New California Driving Laws Start Jan. 1

The new year brings new driving regulations to the Golden State.

Every year, new driving laws go into effect. Jan. 1, 2013 will bring a new set of regulations that are important to know.

“The changes to California’s traffic safety laws are designed to protect the motoring public,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.  “Citizens are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these new laws in advance of the new year. Adhering to the rules of the road may save your life, or the lives of your fellow motorists.”

The following is a list of updates to California laws that all drivers should take into account. 

  • AB 2020: A person arrested for suspected DUI will no longer be given the option of a urine test. In previous years, the option was given of either a urine test of a blood test.
  • AB 45: Bus and limousine drivers will be held responsible for telling all underage passengers that drinking alcohol is illegal. If alcohol is being transported in a bus or limousine with underage passengers on board, a person at least 25-years-old must be on board to ensure there is no underage consumption.
  • AB 1536: It will be legal to send and receive text messages with hands-free devices powered by voice-operated software. 
  • AB 1708: Drivers will have the right to show proof of insurance on a smartphone or tablet when pulled over. 
  • AB 2405: Cars with Clean Air Vehicle stickers will be allowed to use High Occupancy Toll lanes. 
  • SB 1298: Self-driving cars will be allowed on public roads for testing purposes as long as a licensed driver is in the driver's seat. 
  • SB 1047: CHP will begin a Silver Alert system similar to Amber Alert, but for missing people over 65-years-old. 

What do you think of the new laws? What law would you add to make our roads safer? Tell us in the comments!

Mary December 23, 2012 at 12:02 AM
AB2020: Will the blood tests be done by qualified medical personnel? We all know that handling blood can transmit disease, including AIDS. AB45: Why over 25 when the legal drinking age is 21? AB1536: Texting and phoning while driving should be outlawed entirely - drivers should keep their minds on driving. SB1047: Why only for children and old people? A missing person, regardless of age, is a serious situation.
Stewart Gooderman December 23, 2012 at 07:10 AM
I absolutely agree!
Frank Biafore December 23, 2012 at 07:42 PM
AS a reminder it is also illegal to have your wipers on without your headlights. Even though this has been the law for several years it makes me sad to see the number of perople that get tickets for this.
Winifred Owen December 23, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Frank, the thing that makes me even sadder is the number of people who DON'T get tickets for this! In fact, I've often thought our state budgetary shortfall could be solved by adequately ticketing for this infraction alone ;-) I have too often seen police (local and CHP) blithely ignoring lightless drivers. An accident reconstruction expert witness retained by our law firm many years ago told me something that I've put into practice ever since: Driving with your lights on at all times is the most important passive safety move you can employ (in addition to seat belts). They help a car to be more visible. I have followed his advice to a T - always driving with my lights on - and wish others would do the same. One more important reminder: If your car has automatic running lights, using them alone does not comply with the wipers/headlights law. You have to actually turn ON your headlights. In so doing, your taillights are activated, which is another important part of the visibility component. I don't think I'm alone when I say that I want to be as visible as possible at all times! This is one of my pet peeves, so thanks, Frank, for raising the subject. I hadn't gone on a good rant about it for quite a while. Whew, that felt good!
Winifred Owen December 23, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Re AB45: This is a good law, because a person who is only 21 is more likely to overlook and even allow underage drinking than is someone with a few more years of maturity. Hopefully. Having a gap of a few years is a very good idea. Of course, there will STILL be instances of underage drinking even with this provision in place (nothing is 100% foolproof), but it is at least a good start in an attempt to curb a serious problem.
Treacy Malloy January 04, 2013 at 12:59 AM
AB 2405: we have a 2005 Prius with Clean Air Vehicle stickers. We were able to drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes for a while, then were told the stickers were no longer valid. Does this new law mean we can use the HOV lane, again?
Lisa Hummel Geisinger January 06, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Treacy: No, the 2005 Prius was included in the last HOV program but not in this one. http://arbis.arb.ca.gov/msprog/carpool/carpool.htm#vehicles
Treacy Malloy January 06, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Thanks very much for the clarification, I appreciate it!

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