traffic laws | 511 Contra Costa

New California Transportation Laws for 2024

With the start of the new year, a number of new laws go into effect. We’ve selected the most significant ones affecting pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists from the California Highway Patrol’s review of new transportation laws:

Increasing Visibility Around Crosswalks (AB 413): Vehicles are prohibited from stopping or parking a vehicle within 20 feet of an intersection or crosswalk, or within 15 feet of any crosswalk where a curb extension is present. The law is intended to increase visibility for all road users to see oncoming traffic.

Cyclists Crossing with Bicycle or Pedestrian Signals (AB 1909): Whenever a traffic signal with different colored bicycle symbols exists in the same location as traffic signals for cars or pedestrians, a cyclist must obey the bicycle traffic signal. If no bicycle traffic signal is present, cyclists are allowed to cross when the pedestrian walk signal is lit, even if the traffic signal for cars is red.

Speed Camera Pilot Program (AB 645): As part of a five-year pilot program, Oakland and San Francisco can install a limited number of speed cameras on local streets where there are safety concerns. The cameras will automatically take a picture of a speeding car’s license plate and deliver a notice of violation to the registered owner through the mail.

Crackdown on Catalytic Converter Theft (SB 55): To help combat theft, motor vehicle dealers are required to ensure a catalytic converter has been permanently marked with a vehicle’s identification number (VIN) before selling that vehicle.

Traffic Stops (AB 2773): Requires a peace officer making a traffic or pedestrian stop to state the reason for the stop before asking any questions.

Driver’s Licenses Can No Longer Be Impounded (AB 1125): Courts no longer have the authority to impound a person’s driver’s license if they fail to make payments for bail or a fine. The law is intended to reduce the harm caused to people with low incomes who need to drive to work or access essential services.

To read more on these and other new transportation laws, read the California Highway Patrol press release.

Additional Reading:

New California Transportation Laws for 2023

New California Transportation Laws for 2022

New California Transportation Laws for 2021

Reminders for School Zones, Crossing Guards, and Yellow School Buses

As schools are back in session safety officials urge motorists to be especially mindful of  their driving behavior in and around school zones and school buses.

A bus in front of San Jose’s Burnett Middle School with red lights flashing and stop sign deployed is ignored by drivers passing on the left. (Mercury News archives) (Rick E. Martin)

Do not pass a school bus with its flashing red lights and stop sign extended in either direction on an undivided highway. If there is a median divider, stop if traveling in the same direction as the bus.

  • Be prepared to stop if you see a school bus that has its flashing yellow lights activated. School buses use their yellow flashing lights to warn motorists of an upcoming bus stop.
  • Obey the speed limit. Kids are quick and don’t always think before running into the street.
  • Do not under any circumstances load or unload your child in the middle of the street or in the second lane of a drop-off circle at school. When dropping off a child pull all the way to the curb so the child exits the car on the right side. Children seated in the left side of the vehicle should exit on the right side of the vehicle.
  • Do not park in a red zone. They are there for a reason. You may be blocking the vision of a crossing guard or crosswalk.
  • The crossing guard’s stop sign means to stop until he/she leaves the crosswalk.
  • When pulling up to a crosswalk leave enough room between your car and the crosswalk so that if you are rear-ended you won’t collide with the guard or children crossing the street.
  • When crossing a street with your child, wait for the crossing guard to signal that it is safe to do so. Lead by example and train your child to listen to directions of the crossing guard.
  • Your child should never run, ride a scooter, skateboard or bicycle in the crosswalk.  Always walk.
  • Often the worst offenders of excessive speed and reckless motorist behavior in and around school zones is mom and dad.


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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:

California Highway Patrol announces new traffic laws in effect for 2010

Happy 2010 from 511CC! Just in case you were too busy celebrating the holidays and missed the following news, on Dec. 23, 2009 the California Highway Patrol (CHP) announced new traffic laws to go into effect for 2010 starting this month or in July. Here are just a few to consider if you’re a Californian driver:
Ignition Interlock Devices (IID)
Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) (AB 91, Feuer) Effective July 1, 2010, this new law establishes a pilot program in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare from July 1, 2010 to January 1, 2016. The pilot program will require, as a condition of reissuing a restricted driver’s license, being issued a driver’s license, or having the privilege to operate a motor vehicle reinstated, subsequent to a conviction of any DUI offense; to install an IID in any vehicle, not including a motorcycle owned or operated by the offender. This new law also establishes installation requirements and requires the installer of the IID to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when the IID has been tampered with, bypassed or attempted to be removed. The length of time the IID would be required to be installed in the person’s vehicle is based upon the number of DUI convictions and whether the offense was a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving Under the Influence (SB 598, Huff) Effective July 1, 2010, this new law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to advise second and third time misdemeanor DUI offenders of the following options: obtain a restricted driver’s license that would allow driving after serving a 90-day suspension period for a second conviction of misdemeanor DUI, or a six month suspension period for a third conviction of misdemeanor DUI if the violation only involves alcohol. The offender must enroll in a DUI program and the offender must install and maintain an IID in their vehicle.
Move Over and/or Slow Down for Emergency Vehicles and Stationary Tow Trucks
Move Over/Slow Down (SB 159, Simitian) The new law removes the January 1, 2010, sunset date on Sections 21809 VC and 25253 VC. Section 21809 VC requires a person driving a vehicle on a freeway and approaching in a lane immediately adjacent to a stationary, authorized emergency vehicle that displays emergency lights, or a stationary tow truck that displays flashing amber warning lights, to safely make a lane change from that lane, or slow to a reasonable speed. Section 25253 VC requires tow trucks used to tow disabled vehicles to be equipped with flashing amber warning lamps and authorizes tow trucks to display flashing amber warning lamps while providing service to a disabled vehicle. However, this section prohibits tow trucks from displaying flashing amber warning lamps on a freeway except when an unusual traffic hazard or extreme hazard exists.
Note: Move Over/Slow Down also applies to stationary, marked Caltrans vehicles displaying flashing amber warning lights.
Driving with TV or Video
Television Broadcast or Video Signal (AB 62 Portantino) This new law allows a person to drive a motor vehicle with a television receiver, video monitor, television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal if the equipment is designed, operated and configured in a manner that prevents the driver of the motor vehicle from viewing the television broadcast or video signal while operating the vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.
Good Samaritans
Personal Liability Immunity ( AB 83, Feuer) Effective August 6, 2009, this new law provides that a Good Samaritan who renders medical or non-medical care at the scene of an emergency would not be liable for any civil damages.
Evasion of Tolls
Toll Evasion Violations (AB 628, Block) This new law permits vehicular crossings and toll highways operating in California to use a pay-by-plate toll system where motorists are identified by their vehicle license plate and billed or the toll is deducted from the Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) account. This law also provides that it is evidence of a violation for a person to enter a vehicular crossing or toll highway without at least one of the following: Money in an amount to pay the prescribed tolls, and transponder or other electronic toll payment device associated with a valid AVI account or a valid vehicle license plate properly affixed to the vehicle in accordance with current law.
Riding Bicycles Without Seats
Bicycles (SB 527, Kehoe) This new law allows a person to ride a bicycle without a seat if the bicycle was designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat.

For the CHP media release containing details of all changes to California’s traffic laws in 2010, download The New Year Brings New Laws (96 KB PDF) from the California Highway Patrol website.
Click here to view all California Highway Patrol press releases.

News sources:
The new year brings new vehicle laws – KGET
New rules of the road 2010 – St. Helena Star