Californians will see several new driving laws on January 1st, 2016. All drivers should make themselves familiar with these new laws to know what changes to expect in the new year.
Extended Under the Influence law (SB 61)
For Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties, the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) law will be extended until July 1, 2017. The law itself is just being extended, but the original IID law requires that first time DUI offenders must install an Ignition Interlock Device in their car for five months; second time offenders must install an IID for 12 months; third time offenders must install an IID for 24 months; and fourth time offenders and onward must install an IID device into their car for 36 months. The IID device requires a driver to breath into it before the vehicle will start, which it will not do if the driver’s BAC is over the legal limit.
Earbuds and headsets law (SB 491)
While the Transportation Committee-supported law does not apply to those legally operating authorized emergency vehicles or waste or construction equipment, California drivers many not wear headphones, earplugs, earphones, or a headset while operating a bicycle or automobile. This includes devices that rest on or are inserted into your ears.
Yellow Alert System (AB 8)
Introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, this alert system, similar to a Silver or Amber Alert, will involve hit-and run incidents that result in a death or major injury. According to the new law, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will work with local law enforcement and determine if the incident requires a Yellow Alert. This includes whether or not the message signs on the freeway should be changed to display the Yellow Alert.
New Silver Alert System (AB 643)
As of January 1st. 2016, Changeable Message Signs (CMS) can now communicate a Silver Alert if the car is involved in a missing person incident.
Starter Interrupt Warning (AB 265)
Car dealers known as “buy-here-pay-here” (the law defines such dealers as “a used car dealer that assigns less than 90 percent of their conditional sales and lease contracts to third party lenders; and therefore provide direct financing to car buyers”) must inform an automobile buyer if the car has a tracking and starter interrupt technology installed into it. Additionally, the dealer must inform the buyer of starter interrupt technology before its engagement.
Highway Lane Use (AB 208)
According to the CHP, this driving law requires slow-moving automobiles and bicyclists to pull over to let traffic pass or to take the next turnout if there are five or more cars backed-up behind them.
Hoverboard Safety (AB 604)
According to the CHP, a “wheeled device designed to be stood and powered by electronic propulsion,” or “hoverboard,” may go no faster than 15 mph. Hoverboards must be ridden by someone 16 years or older and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A helmet must be worn at all times while riding a hoverboard. Lastly, hoverboards cannot be ridden on roads with a speed limit over 35 mph.
California Residency Requirement (AB 1465)
Those applying for an original driver license, as of January 1st, 2016, must show proof of California state residency to the DMV. DMVs will also now have to develop procedures that can prove and confirm the applicant’s California residency.
California’s New Motor Voter Program (AB 1461)
In California those applying for a driver’s license, identification card, or renewing a driver’s license will be automatically registered to vote. However, there will be an opt-out option available for those who do not wish to be registered.
It is unclear when this law will come into effect, since the Secretary of State will not receive the information from the DMV until, according to the Los Angeles Times, regulations are developed, a statewide database system is established, and funding to implement the program is secured. No later than a year after the Secretary of State certifies the above regulations, the DMC must implement the New Motor Voter Act.