Motor Vehicle | 511 Contra Costa

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)

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.