New California Driving Laws 2013

Jan 19

The New Year: a time for celebration, friends, family, those magnetic midnight kisses, and, without fail, new laws (or more restrictions, as many seem to call them). As of January 1, 2013, new laws for the drivers of California have come into effect. Some are awesome and some California residents are unsure about how they feel yet, but according to those in a position of power, they are going to be wonderful additions. According to CHP commissioner Joe Farrow, “The changes in California’s traffic safety laws are designed to protect the motoring public. 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.” Regardless of how you feel about the new laws, though, you will have to follow these laws if you plan to drive in the Golden State!

AB 45: Do you drive a bus or limousine? Then be sure to pay close attention to this law! If your vehicle is equipped with passengers under the legal drinking age of 21, you MUST be sure that you let them know drinking is illegal. On top of that, if alcohol is being transported in your bus or limousine while underage persons are in the vehicle, it is required that a person of at least 25 years of age is riding in the vehicle as well to ensure that the underage person(s) are not consuming alcohol. What you need to take from this? If you are under 21 and planning on a night out, do it with apple cider. If you are at least 25 years old and accompanying people who are under the magical age, make sure they do not drink. Lastly, if you drive a limousine or bus, please make sure you know what is happening in the vehicle since you will be responsible for letting everyone know the laws!

AB 1536: “Texting while driving kills!” I am sure that you have heard that phrase many times and on a multitude of ads. Thanks to how “smart” smart phones are, for the past few years, people have been able to text without actually using their thumbs, but speaking into their phone. Well, this New Year, the law states that, yes, that is still texting while driving. So there will be no more speak texting! It is now illegal to send and receive text messages with any form of a hands-free device that is powered by voice-operated software.

AB 1550: Blast from the past! Feel like you’re missing black, yellow, or blue from your license plate? Then wait no more! You are now able to order the old-styled license plates yet again. Give your car the retro feel and get a new/old license plate. Also, if you are a veteran, the specialty license plates for you will be a bit more expensive than they were prior, but for a good cause! All the extra money you will be paying for your specialty license plate will be beneficial to a veteran’s advocacy group. Specialty license plates that show your veteran pride while giving back; couldn’t be a better combination!

AB 1708: For those of us who have been pulled over before, we know the drill—“License, registration and insurance, please.” Unfortunately, many people do not like carrying papers in their cars or lose them quite frequently. Although you still will need to have your registration in the car (and obviously you cannot drive without a license), you are now able to show your proof of insurance to the police officer by using your tablet, smart phone or any similar device. So though you may not use these devices whilst driving your car, if you have them with you, they can prove to be handy!

AB 2020: Drinking and driving is never a smart combination. Now, if you are suspected of driving under the influence you will no longer have the option to do a urine test. As much as I’m sure that people may prefer this over having their blood drawn, you can only imagine that the officer on the receiving end would rather have your blood drawn.

AB 2405: Ever felt like using a High Occupancy Toll lane (HOT lane) and you have a Clean Air Vehicle sticker on your vehicle? Well now you can! As of January 1, 2013, any vehicle that has one of those Clean Air Vehicle stickers will be able to drive through the HOT lanes.

SB 1047: A vast majority of people know what AMBER Alert is. For those who do not, AMBER Alert is a voluntary program between law-enforcement, transportation agencies, wireless companies, and broadcasting businesses alike that send out an urgent bulletin as soon as there are serious child abductions. With this New Year, much like AMBER Alert, there will now be a Silver Alert system. Instead of young children, the Silver Alert system will be used for persons missing who are a minimum of 65 years of age.

SB 1298: Entrepreneurs and inventors all over have new ideas and products being produced almost more quickly than we can keep up with! One of the newer manufactured goods that are still in the testing stages is self-driving cars. Though we have not seen them on the road yet, 2013 will now allow these self-driving cars to be on the public roads (as long as there is a licensed driver in the driver’s seat and it is only for the purpose of test driving such a vehicle).

Be sure to buckle up because the police in California will be buckling down on these new laws! The year 2013 will be filled with much greatness and new changes.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”


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