CHP | 511 Contra Costa

New Transportation Laws for 2021

With 2021 now upon us, you should be aware of these three new laws affecting motorists:

  • Unattended children in motor vehicles: Exempts a person from civil or criminal liability for trespassing or damaging a vehicle when rescuing a child who is 6 years old or younger in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or other dangerous circumstances. [Effective Jan. 1, 2021]
  • “Move Over, Slow Down” amendments: The “Move Over, Slow Down” law has been expanded to apply to local streets and roads. Drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights, including tow trucks and Caltrans vehicles, must move to another lane when possible, or slow to a reasonable speed on all highways, not just freeways. [Effective Jan. 1, 2021]
  • Points for distracted driving: Beginning July 1, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driving record.

For more information on new driving-related laws taking effect in 2021, click below.

New Motor Vehicle Laws for 2017

With 2017 just around the corner, we rounded up new laws impacting vehicle & traffic safety we thought you should know about. All of these laws take effect on January 1, 2017.
Cell Phone (Electronic Wireless Device) Usage: It will be illegal to hold a cell phone (or other wireless electronic device) while operating a motor vehicle. Phones and devices will need to be mounted on the dashboard or windshield, and may only be operated by hand when activating or deactivating a feature or function can be done with “a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger” (View full text of AB 1785)
School Bus Safety: All school buses, school pupil activity buses, youth buses & child care motor vehicles used to transport school-age children will be required to have a “child safety alert system”. Since this device requires the driver to contact or scan it before leaving the vehicle, it prompts them to verify that all children have disembarked. Schools will also be required to have procedures in place to, “ensure that a pupil is not left unattended on a school bus.” (View full text of SB 1072)
Child Safety Seats: Children under 2 years of age must ride rear-facing in a child safety seat, unless they are more than 40 pounds or taller than 40 inches. (View full text of AB 53)

Start Smart: Free Teen Driving Safety Program – Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 (Concord)

startsmartDid you know that your bicycle is considered a vehicle and that the same laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists? Come learn more about keeping your teens safe on the road with a 2-hour Start Smart driving and bicycling safety class September 29 in Concord.  Accompanying your student to the class is a great way to show them just how much their safety means to you.
screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-4-36-35-pmStart Smart, led by the California Highway Patrol, is designed to educate teens and their parents on common high-risk behaviors of new motorists & how to prevent distracted driving. The event will not only help new drivers stay safe behind the wheel, it will also explain the Rules of the Road regarding cyclists and present strategies to help your teen keep vulnerable road users, like pedestrians and cyclists, safe as well.
street_smarts_diablo_sm-500x230The class is open to all high school students and will be held at Ygnacio Valley High School from 6:30-8:30pm on Thursday, September 29. Each student must be accompanied by at least one parent or guardian. The event is free, but registration is requested via the Eventbrite event page.
This evening is presented by Street Smarts Diablo,  the California Highway Patrol, and Ygnacio Valley High School. For additional information, click here.

Free Teen Driving Safety Program: Feb. 18, 2016 (Lafayette)

If you live in or near Lafayette, help your teen be a safer driver by bringing them to the CHP’s Start Smart program on February 18! This two-hour driver safety class at Acalanes High School is for new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. All are invited to attend!
startsmartPresented by the California Highway Patrol, and Acalanes High School, the event is free but registration is requested. Click here to register.
The class will be held at Acalanes High School (at 1200 Pleasant Hill Rd) in Lafayette from 7-9pm.

2015 California Laws Affecting Motorists

With a new year come new laws to be aware of pertaining to the vehicle code. With some help from the California Highway Patrol, here’s a quick digest of new laws in effect for 2016:
drivingheadphones2Use of Earbuds and Headsets (SB 491): This law clarifies that it is illegal to have earbuds in or headphones on both ears while operating a motor vehicle or a bicycle.
Slow-moving Bikes & Cars Must Allow Passing (AB 208): The law requiring slow-moving passenger vehicles to pull over safely to let traffic pass has been amended to apply to all vehicles, including bicycles. Slow-moving vehicles are required to use the next available turnout or other area to let backed-up traffic (i.e. five or more vehicles) get by.
yellowalertsignNew Hit-and-Run Yellow Alert System (AB 8): A “Yellow Alert” notification system will be established for hit-and-run incidents resulting in death or serious injury. This will allow the rapid dissemination of information regarding the suspect and their vehicle, including the use of the freeway Changeable Message Signs (CMS).
Motorized Boards Bike LaneElectronically Motorized Boards Restricted to Roads & Bikeways (AB 604): The new law defines an “electronically motorized board” as a wheeled device designed to be stood on and powered by electronic propulsion, going no more than 15 miles per hour. Electronically motorized boards can only be ridden on a highway with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, or specific designated bikeways. The rider must be at least 16 years old and wear a bicycle helmet. (Cities and counties are authorized to restrict the use of electrically motorized boards.)
silveralertSilver Alerts to Use Changeable Message Signs (AB 643): The “Silver Alert” notification system has been enhanced to allow alerts to be communicated on CMS when a vehicle is involved. The Silver Alert is an emergency system that allows law enforcement to broadcast alerts for seniors, or individuals with developmental disabilities or who are cognitively impaired, who are missing and may be in danger.
For complete information on bills enacted in 2015, please visit the Legislative Counsel Web site.

Free Teen Driving Safety Program: November 4, 2015 (Danville)

If you live in or near Danville, help your teen be a safer driver by bringing them to the CHP’s Start Smart program on November 4! This two-hour driver safety class at Monte Vista High School is for new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. All are invited to attend!
startsmartPresented by the California Highway Patrol, Street Smarts Diablo and Monte Vista High School. The event is free but registration is requested. Click here to register.
The class will be held at Monte Vista High School Theater (at 3131 Stone Valley Rd) in Danville from 7-9pm. For more information, call Street Smarts Diablo at 925-969-1083.

Senior Driving Skills – "Age Well Drive Smart" on Oct. 27, 2015 (Lafayette)

The California Highway Patrol knows that driving is freedom. Helping seniors preserve that freedom is the focus of their Age Well Drive Smart program.
CHP Age Well Drive SmartOn October 27, CHP – Contra Costa invites you to take their free Age Well Drive Smart class in Lafayette. This two-hour interactive program is designed to help Contra Costa County’s senior drivers refresh their knowledge of the “rules of the road” and learn about age-related physical changes and how to adjust to them.
Included in the discussion will be the importance of preserving the ability to drive, factors to consider in extending our driving years, and health issues which might require us to limit or stop driving. 
The event happens at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (1035 Carol Lane) in Lafayette on October 27, from 9:30am to 11:30am.
To register, visit the Eventbrite page.

Senior Driving Skills – "Age Well Drive Smart" on August 7, 2015 (Walnut Creek)

The California Highway Patrol knows that driving is freedom. Helping seniors preserve that freedom is the focus of their Age Well Drive Smart program.
CHP Age Well Drive SmartOn August 7, CHP – Contra Costa invites you to take their free Age Well Drive Smart class in Walnut Creek. This two-hour interactive program is designed to help Contra Costa County’s senior drivers refresh their knowledge of the “rules of the road” and learn about age-related physical changes and how to adjust to them.
Included in the discussion will be the importance of preserving the ability to drive, factors to consider in extending our driving years, and health issues which might require us to limit or stop driving. 
The event happens at John Muir Health Outpatient Center (1220 Rossmoor Parkway) in Walnut Creek on August 7th, from 9:30am to 11:30am.
To register, visit the Eventbrite page.

Contra Costa CHP – National Night Out Celebration: August 4, 2015 (Martinez)

HReg15NNO
The California Highway Patrol – Contra Costa invites you to celebrate National Night Out with them on Tuesday, August 4 from 3-6pm!

National Night Out 2015 flyer
Click to enlarge image

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign promoting police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our communities safer.
On August 4, CHP – Contra Costa will be hosting a National Night Out gathering at their Martinez headquarters, featuring:

  • Free child safety seat inspections/installations
  • Free bicycle helmet giveaways
  • Additional free gifts for the kids, and
  • A police utility vehicle on display for the children to check out

Everyone is invited!  The celebration will be held on August 4 from 3-6pm at 5001 Blum Road in Martinez. For more information, visit CHP-ContraCosta.Eventbrite.com.
 

Free Teen Driving Safety Classes: Concord, San Ramon, Antioch (Apr. 2015)

Bring your teen to one of the CHP’s Start Smart classes! Spending just two hours with them can make them a safer driver. This program is for new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. All are invited to attend!
There are three classes happening soon:

Presented by the California Highway Patrol, Streets Smarts Diablo and Street Smarts San Ramon Valley the events are free but registration is requested. Click any of the class listings above to register or get details.
If you can’t attend any of the listed events, the CHP offers the Start Smart class twice a month at their Martinez offices. For more information, call 925-646-4980.

Stay Alert & Drive Safely: Warmer Weather Means More Vehicles on Roads

California Highway Patrol patchThe California Highway Patrol, Golden Gate Division is reminding motorists to keep their attention focused on the road as the weather warms. Over the final – and warmest – weekend in March, five people lost their lives in fatal traffic accidents which could have been avoided.
“Safety on our Bay Area roadways is everyone’s responsibility,” said Chief Avery Browne. “We’re calling upon all motorists to watch their speed, to drive safely, and to avoid distractions behind the wheel.”
The warmer weather in April and May will mean more vehicles on the road, increasing the need for drivers to be aware of the presence and behavior of other road users. The CHP is asking for your help to make April free of fatalities on Bay Area roadways!

Free Teen Driving Safety Program: April 20, 2015 (Concord)


If you live in or near Concord, help your teen be a safer driver by bringing them to the CHP’s Start Smart program on April 20! This two-hour driver safety class at Clayton Valley Charter High School is for new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. All are invited to attend!
Presented by the California Highway Patrol, Street Smarts Diablo and Clayton Valley Charter High School, the event is free but registration is requested. Click here to register.
The class will be held at Clayton Valley Charter High School (at 1101 Alberta Way) in Concord from 6:30-8:30pm. For more information, call Street Smarts Diablo at 925-969-1083.

NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS AFFECTING MOTORISTS IN 2015

With a new year come new laws pertaining to the vehicle code. Here’s a quick digest of the new laws:
Modified Limousine Safety Requirements – Regulations (SB 611):
The new law defines a modified limousine as a vehicle that seats not more than 10 passengers, including the driver, and has been modified, altered, or extended in a manner that increases the wheelbase of the vehicle, sufficient to accommodate additional passengers. Modified limousines are required to carry two readily accessible and fully-charged fire extinguishers. The driver must notify passengers of the safety features of the vehicle, including instructions for lowering the partition between the driver and passengers, and the location of the fire extinguishers.
licensesampleDriver License Eligibility – Undocumented Residents (AB 60):
The ability to submit proof of legal residence in the United States is no longer a requirement to obtain a California Driver’s License. Applicants are still required to provide satisfactory proof of identity and California residency and must meet all other qualifications for licensure, which includes demonstration of the basic knowledge, skills and ability to have the privilege of driving.
For complete information on bills enacted in 2014, please visit the Legislative
Counsel Web site at LegInfo.ca.gov.

Free Teen Driving Safety Program: November 17, 2014 (Walnut Creek)

If you’ve got a teenage driver in the house, or a teen who’ll be driving soon, a great way to help them stay safer behind the wheel is to bring them to the CHP Smart Start Driving Safety Program. This two-hour driver safety class targets new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. On the evening of Monday, November 17, all are invited to attend the Smart Start class at Las Lomas High School.
Presented by the California Highway Patrol, Street Smarts Diablo and Las Lomas High School, the event is free and open to all students and parents, but registration is requested. Click here to register.startsmart
The class will be held at Las Lomas High School (at 1460 South Main Street) in
Walnut Creek from 7-9pm. For more information, call Street Smarts Diablo at 925-969-1083.

Free Teen Driving Safety Program: October 28, 2014 (Oakley)

If you’ve got a teenage driver in the house, or a teen who’ll be driving soon, a great way to help them stay safer behind the wheel is to bring them to the CHP Smart Start Driving Safety Program. This two-hour driver safety class targets new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. On the evening of Tuesday, October 28, all are invited to attend the Smart Start class at Freedom High School.
Presented by the California Highway Patrol, Streets Smarts Diablo and Freedom High School, the event is free and open to all students and parents, but registration is requested. Click here to register.startsmart
The class will be held at Freedom High School (at 1050 Neroly Rd) in
Oakley from 7-9pm. For more information, call Street Smarts Diablo at 925-969-1083.

Free Teen Driving Safety Program: October 2, 2014 (Antioch)

If you’ve got a teenage driver in the house, or a teen who’ll be driving soon, a great way to help them stay safer behind the wheel is to bring them to the CHP Smart Start Driving Safety Program. This two-hour driver safety class targets new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. On the evening of Thursday, October 2, all are invited to attend the Smart Start class at Deer Valley High School.
Presented by the California Highway Patrol, Streets Smarts Diablo and Deer Valley High School, the event is free and open to all students and parents, but registration is requested. Click here to register.startsmart
The class will be held in the Theater of Deer Valley High School (at 4700 Lone Tree Way) in
Antioch from 7-9pm. For more information, call Street Smarts Diablo at 925-969-1083.

Free Teen Driving Safety Program: September 17, 2014 (Martinez)

If you’ve got a teenage driver in the house, or a teen who’ll be driving soon, a great way to help them stay safer behind the wheel is to bring them to the CHP Smart Start Driving Safety Program. This two-hour driver safety class targets new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents. On the evening of Wednesday, September 17th, all are invited to attend the Smart Start class at Alhambra High School.
Presented by the California Highway Patrol, Streets Smarts Diablo and Alhambra High School, the event is free and open to all students and parents, but registration is requested. Click here to register.startsmart
The class will be held in the Performing Arts Building of Alhambra High School (at 150 E Street) in
Martinez from 6-8pm. For more information, call Street Smarts Diablo at 925-969-1083.

Teen Driving Safety Program August 19, 2014

The California Highway Patrol, Street Smarts Diablo, and Pittsburg High School are hosting the CHP Start Smart Driving Safety Program for teen drivers and their parents August 19, 2014 from 6-8 pm at Pittsburg High School Creative Arts Building.  Registration is FREE and open to all Pittsburg students and parents. Registration is requested. Click here to register.  For more information call Street Smarts Diablo at 925-969-1083.
street_smarts_diablo_smStartSmart
Start Smart is a two-hour driver safety education class given by the CHP. The class targets new and future licensed teenage drivers and their parents/guardians. For more information call 925-646-4980.

New California Traffic Laws in Effect for 2014

BBHappy New Year from 511CC!
The California legislature has released a new set of traffic laws in effect for 2014, to be enforced by the CHP and other agencies.
Here are some of the new laws effective January 1, 2014.
Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the changes:


 
Amber_AlertAMBER Alert: Expansion (AB 535): This law requires law enforcement to request activation of the AMBER Alerts after receiving a report that a child has been taken abducted by anyone, including a custodial parent or guardian, who may cause serious bodily injury or death to the child.
 
 
bike_lane
Bicycles: Passing Distance (AB 1371): (This law will go into effect September 16, 2014.)This law prohibits motorists from passing a bicycle with less than three feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle ordriver. When three feet is not possible, the motor vehicle must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and only pass when no danger is present tothe bicyclist. Failing to do so can incur a fine, regardless of a collision or not.
 
limousine
Charter Bus Carriers: Limousines: Emergency Exits (SB 109): By January 1st, 2016, every limousine that has been modified or extended toaccommodate additional passengers shall have two rear doors and one or two internally removable rear emergency windows. If such modifications occurred on or after July of 2015, these requirements apply immediately after July 1st, 2015. All new limousines manufactured after January 1st, 2015 must meet these requirements as well.
 
HOV
High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (AB 266 / SB 286, Yee): Together these laws extend sunset dates for low emission, zero emission vehicles tooperate in high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) without meeting occupancy requirements to January 1, 2019.
 
 
crosswalk
Hit and Run: Statute of Limitations (AB 184): This law extends the statute of limitations for hit-and-run collisions in which death or permanent, serious injury was a result. A criminal complaint may be filed within three years of the offense, or one year after the person was initially identified by law enforcement as a suspect in the commission of the offense, which ever comes later, but in no case more than six years after the offense.
 
theft
Registration Fees: Vehicle Theft (AB 767): This law authorizes counties to increase registration fees by $1 for passenger vehicles and $2 forcommercial vehicles to fund programs related to vehicle theft crimes in those counties
 
 
dui
Search Warrants: Chemical Tests (SB 717): (This law has been operative since September 20, 2013.) This amendment to current law authorizes the issuance of a search warrant to draw blood from a person in a reasonable, medically approved manner, to show that the person violated misdemeanor DUI provisions when that person has refused an officer’s request to submit to, or has failed to complete, a blood test.
 
text
Teen Drivers (SB 194): This law prohibits a person who is under 18 years of age from using an electronic wireless communications device to write,send, or read a text-based communication while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device.
 
 


To read the full text of each bill, visit the official California Legislative site, click the Bill Information tab. Enter the bill number listed in parentheses next to each new law above (e.g. 1854) next to “Bill Number:” and select 2013-2014 next to “Session Year:”, then click Search.


Previous Lists Summarizing New California Traffic Laws by Year:

NEW CALIFORNIA TRAFFIC LAWS IN EFFECT FOR 2013

View of San Francisco from Oakland across the Bay Bridge
Happy New Year from 511CC!
The California legislature has released a new set of traffic laws in effect for 2013, to be enforced by the CHP and other agencies.

“The changes to California’s traffic safety laws are designed to protect the motoring public,” – CHP  Commissioner Joe Farrow.

Here are some of the new laws effective January 1, 2013.
Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the changes:
Image credit: sicarr via Flickr

marijuana leafDriving Under the Influence (2020)

The law no longer allows a person who has been arrested and is suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs, the option of a urine test. Only blood tests be used to determine the drug content of a person’s blood.

champagne in limoCharter-Party Carriers of Passengers (45)

Prohibits underage drinking in charter-party carriers (limos, buses, etc.) and makes the carrier and driver responsible for communicating this to their passengers. Requires a designee, who is at least 25 years of age, to be present whenever there are passengers who are under 21 years of age on board the vehicle and alcohol is being transported. The designee shall be responsible for ensuring the rules are followed, and the safety of the underage passengers throughout the duration of the trip.

texting whiile drivingElectronic Wireless Communications (1536)

This law allows California drivers to use hands-free technology to talk and text while driving. This will require the use of a device that is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send or listen to a text-based communication. The device is required to also be used in a voice-operated, hands-free manner to be in compliance with the law.

pulled overFinancial Responsibility and Insurance (1708)

Drivers will now have the option of providing proof of insurance and registration on an electronic device (smartphone, tablet, etc.), when it is requested by law enforcement.

clean airHigh Occupancy Toll Lanes (2405)

This law creates the Choose Clean Cars Act, which allows cars with a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker free access to carpool lanes that are converted to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.

self drivingAutonomous Vehicles (1298)

This new law allows driverless cars to be operated on public roads for testing purposes, provided that each vehicle has a fully licensed and bonded operator in the driver’s seat to take control if necessary. The bill also instructs the DMV to adopt regulations that govern  the licensing, bonding, testing and operation of autonomous vehicle technology.

amber alertEmergency Services: Seniors (1047)

Similar to an AMBER Alert, the CHP would activate a “Silver Alert” upon request if a person, age 65 or older, is reported missing to a law enforcement agency and that agency determines that certain criteria is met. The criteria includes: the person is missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances or the law enforcement agency believes the person is in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability, environment or weather conditions; the person is in the company of a potentially dangerous person; or there are other factors indicating that the person may be in peril.

SocialDriver License (2189)

This law allows a driver’s license applicant who provides satisfactory proof that his or her presence in the United States is authorized under federal law, but who is not eligible for a social security account number, is eligible to receive an original driver’s license if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure.

red lightAutomated Traffic Enforcement Systems (1303)

This new law establishes consistency in the operations of red-light enforcement cameras throughout the state by requiring governmental agencies to follow specified guidelines regarding intersections, signage, and the notice to appear.

license plateLicense Plates (2489)

This new law prevents the altering and positioning of license plates from its original markings and clarifies the penalty imposed for obscuring the readability of license plates.

car seatChild Passenger Restraints (1452)

Hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers will now be required to provide and discuss contact information regarding child safety seat requirements, installation, and inspection to parents and caregivers upon discharge of a child, if the child is less than eight years of age.

ROVRecreational off-highway vehicles (two new laws)

1. (1595) Defines an off-highway motor vehicle to include a recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV) and establishes additional requirements governing its safe operation.
2. (1266) Effective July 1, 2013, prohibits a passenger in an ROV from riding in a seat location not designed and provided by the manufacturer. It also prohibits operation of the ROV if the passenger is not seated with both feet on the floorboard and able to grab the occupant handhold with the seat belt and shoulder belt or safety harness fastened.

theftAdditional Registration Fees (1404)

This law authorizes three counties (Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino) to increase vehicle registration fees to help fund vehicle theft programs. Increases would be from $1 to $2 for passenger vehicles, and $2 to $4 for commercial vehicles.

air bagInflatable Restraint Systems (1854)

This law makes it illegal for a person to knowingly distribute or sell a previously deployed air bag or component that will no longer meet the original equipment form, function or proper operation.

beer cansDriving Under the Influence: Alcoholic Beverage or Drug (2552)

Although this change in the law does not take effect until January 1, 2014, it distinguishes whether an individual was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Ultimately this change, singling out drugs with its own subsection in the Vehicle Code, will make it easier to track the prevalence of drugged driving in California. This new law, coupled with the efforts requiring the use of Ignition Interlock Devices, will help reduce impaired driving throughout California.


To read the full text of each bill, visit the official California Legislative site, click the Bill Information tab. Enter the bill number listed in parentheses next to each new law above (e.g. 1854) next to “Bill Number:” and select 2011-2012 next to “Session Year:”, then click Search.
Click to download the official CHP press release.
Previous Lists Summarizing New California Traffic Laws by Year:

New California traffic laws in effect for 2012

In addition to the London Summer Olympics, the next United States Presidential election, Batman and The Avengers (well, for some), we have a lot to look forward to in 2012.
As a driver, 2012 also brings a new set of traffic laws to keep in mind.

“Our hope is by educating the public of these new traffic safety laws in advance, more lives will be saved in the new year.” –CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.

Although the following list is not comprehensive, a few of 2012’s major changes are below:
Double Parellel Solid White Lines
Vehicles will be prohibited from crossing double parallel solid white lines except where permitted. (AB 1105, Gordon)
Car and Booster Seat Requirements
A change to California’s Child Passenger Safety Seat law will now require children to ride in either a car seat or booster seat until the age of eight, or until they reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches. This law also requires children who do not meet the age or height requirement to ride in the rear seat of a vehicle unless the vehicle has no back seats, the restraint system cannot be properly installed or the rear seats are already occupied by children under age eight. However, the law still maintains that a child may not ride in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger airbag if they are under one year of age, less than 20 pounds, or riding in a rear-facing child safety seat. (SB 929, Evans)
Sobriety Checkpoints
Drivers are required to stop and submit to a sobriety checkpoint. However, peace officers will be prohibited from impounding a vehicle for 30 days out of a sobriety checkpoint if the only offense by the driver is failing to hold a valid driver license. The new law requires that the officer make a reasonable attempt to identify the registered owner in order to release the vehicle. (AB 353, Cedillo)
Restricted Drivers’ License Conditions
Anyone who is convicted of reckless driving under Section 23103.5 of the Vehicle Code can apply for a restricted driver license prior to the completion of their one-year suspension, provided they meet specified conditions, including the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle. (AB 520, Ammiano)

Double fine zones on Vasco Road
A segment of Vasco Road between I-580 in Alameda County and Walnut Boulevard in Contra Costa County has been re-designated as a double fine zone until January 1, 2017. (AB 348, Buchanan)
Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles (EV) must now be plugged in for refueling when occupying an EV-designated parking space, otherwise they may be towed. In addition, the law prohibits a person from obstructing, blocking, or otherwise barring access to an EV-designated parking space. (AB 475, Butler)
The County of Riverside, or any city within the county, has been permitted to develop a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle transportation plan. (AB 61, Jeffries & SB 290, Correa)
Inyo County, using a pilot program, has been granted authority to explore options for developing a greater network of linked Off-Highway Vehicle trails; they will be allowed to designate combined use highways on unincorporated county roads for up to 10 miles, subject to CHP approval. This program will remain in effect until January 1, 2017. (AB 628, Conway)
Regulation of advertising signs on motor vehicles
Local governments can now regulate advertising signs on any motor vehicle parked or left standing upon a public street, except for signs painted directly upon or permanently affixed to the vehicle for permanent decoration, identification, or display that do not extend beyond the overall length, width, or height of the vehicle. (AB 1298, Blumenfield)
Livestock carriers on 101
Licensed livestock carriers can continue to travel on Highway 101 within the counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino from its junction with Highway 1 near Leggett, north to the Oregon border until January 1, 2015. (AB 349, Chesbro)
DUI Repeat Offenses
A law dealing with repeat driving under the influence (DUI) offenders that was passed in 2010 also goes into effect on January 1:
Section 23579 was added to the Vehicle Code, which authorizes courts to revoke a driver’s license for 10 years if a person is convicted of three or more DUIs. Under this law enacted in 2010, a motorist may be allowed to apply for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after five years, if the person installs an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle. The law allows the DMV to terminate this restricted license if the IID requirements are not met. (AB 1601, Hill)
The points above are only a synopsis of the new laws listed here and only a partial list of California’s new laws adopted for 2012. For complete information on chaptered bills enacted in 2011, please refer to the Legislative Counsel website at www.LegInfo.ca.gov.


For the CHP media release containing details of all changes to California’s traffic laws in 2012, download State’s Motorists to Ring in the New Year with New Laws (PDF) from the California Highway Patrol website.
Image credits (top to bottom): cauld ladsean dreilinger, ZanePaul Photos, CA DMV, wangkaiChrysler-Group, ***Karen, rabbit_mage, Greencolander

California Highway Patrol announces new traffic laws in effect for 2011


Happy 2011, commuters! With the new year comes a new set of traffic laws, released December 15, 2010. “The new laws are designed to make California roadways safer for travelers regardless of their mode of transportation,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. Here is a rundown of the new laws:
Motorcycle Instruction Permits
Instruction Permit: Motorcycle (AB 1952, Niello) This bill added Section 12509.5 to the Vehicle Code, which lays out the age-specific requirements drivers must fulfill to obtain a motorcycle instruction permit. Among those requirements for drivers younger than 21 years of age is the successful completion of the motorcycle safety course administered by the CHP.
Motorcycle Theft
Motorcycle Theft: (AB 1848, Garrick) This bill adds Section 466.65 to the Penal Code and makes it a misdemeanor to possess, give, or lend the following:

  • Any device designed to bypass the factory-installed ignition of a motorcycle in order to start the engine without the manufacturer’s key.
  • Any motorcycle ignition or part of motorcycle ignition, with the intent to unlawfully take or drive, or to facilitate the unlawful taking or driving of a motorcycle, without the consent of the owner.
  • Items of hardware, including bolt cutters, electrical tape, wire cutters, wire strippers, or allen wrenches, with the intent to aid in the unlawful taking or driving of a motorcycle without the consent of the owner.

Continue reading “California Highway Patrol announces new traffic laws in effect for 2011”