New Driving Laws In Effect This Week

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

For most of us, it's been a long time since we were forced to take a driving test — written, or behind the wheel.

And while we like to believe we are still competent in the driver's seat, a lot has changed since the time we were issued a license.

Every year, new driving laws go into effect. This year, Jan. 1 brought with it 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 or a blood test.
  • AB 45: Bus and limousine drivers will be held responsible for informing 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 and registration on a smartphone or tablet when pulled over. 
  • AB 2405: Cars with Clean Air Vehicle stickers will be allowed to use High Occupancy (carpool) 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 these new laws? Any driving laws you think should have made the list but didn't? Tell us in the comments below.


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Jessica Mullins January 04, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Is there anyone out there who can actually use voice-operated software to send a text message without having to glance at their phone at least once? I feel like allowing hands-free and voice-operated texting isn't all that safe ... what do y'all think?
John Ferguson January 04, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Driving is complicated and very dangerous. The only way to drive safely is to devote your full attention to the task. Most people do not do this. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to legislate paying attention and not being distracted. When do the self-driving cars become available? For my money, I think programming cars to drive themselves will soon be safer than allowing humans to try to do it badly while attempting to do three other consecutive things..


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