2014 has arrived, and with it come several new auto laws for Californians.
The new year is upon us! If you live in California that means that we have several new auto laws on the books.
1. Mobile Devices are Completely Banned for Drivers Under 18
We all know that texting while driving is illegal, and phone calls are only permitted through hands-free devices, but California Vehicle Code SB 194 has made a few changes. As of January 1, 2014 all mobile devices are illegal for drivers under 18, EVEN if they use a hands-free device. The only exception is if it is an emergency call to law enforcement or other emergency service providers. This is in an attempt to combat the deadly rise in teenage accidents due to distracted driving.
2. Non-Functioning Parking Meters
California Vehicle Code AB 61 is looking to save you some spare change and a ticket or two. As of January 1, 2014 if you park at an inoperable parking meter or payment station, you are now able to park there without getting a ticket, as long as you abide by the posted signs for that area. For example, if the signs allow for 2 hours of parking for that area, you can park for 2 hours without needing to pay the broken meter. However, if the signs say No Parking Anytime 10 am - 2 pm, no such luck and you may still have a tow truck in your future.
3. Search Warrants for Chemical DUI Tests
CA Vehicle Code SB 717 means that an officer can receive a warrant to draw blood from a person in a reasonable, medically approved manner if they suspect the person is driving under the influence and they have refused the officers request to submit to a DUI test.
4. HOV/Carpool Lane Access for Eco-Friendly Vehicles
California Vehicle Codes AB 266 and SB 286 mean that the privileges of the HOV stickers are still extended to qualifying vehicles. If you drive an electric or hybrid car that is approved for HOV access, you will still benefit from that privilege in 2014 as long as you display the appropriate sticker. There is no such access to the Express Lanes that could be found on the I-10 or I-110, so be careful!
5. Vehicle Registration Fees Increase
Registering your vehicle will now have several new fees thanks to California Vehicle Code AB 8. Included fees are $3.00 for alternative fuel development and deployment, $8.00 for SMOG abatement on vehicles 6 years old or newer, and $2.00 for local air quality districts used for large trucks to mitigate emissions.
6. Bicycles Safety Laws
California Vehicle Code AB 1371 prohibits motorists from passing a bicycle in the street with less than 3 feet between the auto and the bicycle. When 3 feet or more is not available, the driver must slow to a reasonable and safe speed in order to avoid any danger to the bicyclist. Failing to do so can incur a fine. This law will not be regulated until September 2014.
Drive safe out there!