New California Driving Laws Start Tomorrow

The new year brings new driving regulations to the Golden State that take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

The first day of January always brings with it a new set of laws.

This year, there are a number of new driving laws that take effect tomorrow, Jan. 1, 2013.

“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, officers gave the option of either a urine test or 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.

50 years here December 31, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Making Police responsible for their actions just like the rest of us would be my first suggestion for a new law. My second would be to re-enforce the equal protection clause, and selective enforcement outlawed!
Julia Antoon January 01, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I always see people texting and looking down at their cell phones while driving. This slows traffic and can cause accidents. Not sure if the handsfree will work or not. We shall see.
Rob January 02, 2013 at 03:36 AM
Self-driving cars will have many now-unenvisioned consequences (and thus I vote for going slow). So (for example -- if I read the "new law" correctly) I presume my car can drive itself as long as I am in the driver's seat? I don't have to be looking at the road -- but can lean back and take a nap? Note -- that regardless of what the law actually says -- we need to be attuned to what people will think it says (prior to unnecessarily killing people).
Debi. Calogero January 02, 2013 at 06:52 AM
Eforcement of ticketing drivers talking on cell phones would be my first mandate. I see many local cops just look at people talking on their phones and they simply shake their head but don't pull them over. Especially if it's a woman driver. I've been hit by 3 people talking on their phones or texting already. Next time they just might kill me. This is common in Pleasant Hill, Martinez and Concord. There should also be a way for citizens to report people for talking or texting while driving - just like if we see someone driving like they're drunk. Cell phones can be checked so the driver can't lie about it. Especially if they are alone.
Janice P Ellis January 02, 2013 at 06:01 PM
I totally get your frustration, Debi. I see this all the time. Several months ago, I witnessed a man texting on 680 in Dublin, very close to the 580/680 interchange. He was so engrossed in his text, he had slowed to about 50 mph. Then, he got upset with ME because I chose to go around him! Like, we're supposed to just sit there behind a driver who is clearly creating a traffic hazard. Situations can change in a split second while driving. For the life of me, I still don't understand how some people think they can safely drive and text at the same time.
Big Dog January 02, 2013 at 06:58 PM
I want Republicans out of my bedroom, and Democrats out of my wallet, and everyone else to just worry about their own problems.
BobG January 03, 2013 at 03:06 AM
You've really narrowed your dating prospects.
Eric Sean Robinson January 04, 2013 at 02:28 PM
I want to see an end to the racially motivated traffic stops...no matter the area you're in.
Dave Grossman January 05, 2013 at 02:28 PM
I want to see wireless IP networked traffic signals controlled by Artificial Intelligence, to minimize driving time, maximize fuel efficiency, eliminate the incentive to speed to the next intersection, and optimize the flow of emergency vehicles. So-called self-driving vehicles are an amusing technological trick with very little practical benefit.
JoeD January 07, 2013 at 07:13 AM
i want to see more bi-direction lanes used for high way to reduce the jam
Patty Block January 07, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Excellent idea. Do you know if this is being considered?


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