It seems like just yesterday we were counting down the seconds to 2014, the start of a new year and a new beginning. And in a blink of an eye, it’s now mid-February! So while you were busy putting away those holiday decorations or exchanging those gifts that you just weren’t so into, seven new California laws went into effect that you need to know about. So read up, take notes, and obey these new laws to keep your auto insurance rates nice and low.
- Teen Drivers (SB194) –If you’re a teen driver or you are the parent of one, this is a big one. This law prohibits anyone 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. My advice for teens, just put your cell phone on silent and put it in the trunk to avoid any temptation or better yet, an expensive ticket!
- Clean Air Vehicle Decal/HOV Stickers (AB 266 & SB286) – Good news for those of you with HOV stickers! These laws extend sunset dates to Jan. 1, 2019, for low emission, zero emission vehicles to operate in high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV)
- Commercial Driver’s License (AB 1047) – This law allows the DMV to conduct the commercial drive test for the holder of an out-of-state commercial learner’s permit. The department would electronically transfer the information to the motor vehicle department in the applicant’s state of residence. This law also modifies the license class definitions to require a driver operating a bus weighing more than 26,000 pounds to hold a commercial Class B license and a driver operating a bus weighing 26,000 pounds or less to hold a commercial Class C license.
- DMV Vehicle Registration Pilot Program (SB 806) – this law authorizes the DMV to establish a pilot program to evaluate the use of alternatives to stickers, tabs, license plates, and registration cards, subject to certain requirements. It will also enable the DMV to experiment with electronic license plates, as well as explore cost-effective alternatives to California’s traditional metal license plate, plastic-coated registration stickers, and paper registration cards.
- Registration and Vehicle Transfers Between Family Members (AB 443) – This law prohibits the transfer of vehicle ownership to a relative or revocable living trust until all parking or toll violation fines and penalties have been paid by the transferee.
- Veterans License Plates (SB244) – This law requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to sponsor a veterans’ special interest license plate and requires the DMV to issue the veterans’ plate if CalVet meets the current statutory requirements. This law creates, in addition to the current Honoring Veterans design of the Veteran’s Organization Plate, a new program to reissue the Veteran design that was issued prior to January 1, 2010. These plates are available to all vehicle owners. The Department of Veterans Affairs must secure 7,500 pre–paid applications in order for the department to implement this plate program.
- Bicycle Passing Distance (AB 1371) – This law, also known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, will require a driver passing a bicycle that’s proceeding in the same direction to maintain a distance of no less than three feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle or driver. When three feet is not possible, the motor vehicle must slow to a reasonable speed and pass only if there’s no danger to the bicyclist. Failing to do so can incur in a fine, regardless of a collision or not. This law will take effect September 16, 2014.
So there you have it, seven new California laws for 2014. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below