New California Driving Laws Start Jan. 1

The new year brings new driving regulations to the Golden State.

For most of us, it's been a long time since we were forced to take a driving test — written or behind the wheel. And while we like to believe we are still competent in the driver's seat, a lot has changed since the time we were issued a license.

Every year, new driving laws go into effect. Jan. 1, 2013 will bring a new set of regulations that are important to know.

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

The following is a list of updates to California laws that all drivers should take into account. 

  • AB 2020: A person arrested for suspected DUI will no longer be given the option of a urine test. In previous years, the option was given of either a urine test of a blood test.
  • AB 45: Bus and limousine drivers will be held responsible for telling all underage passengers that drinking alcohol is illegal. If alcohol is being transported in a bus or limousine with underage passengers on board, a person at least 25-years-old must be on board to ensure there is no underage consumption.
  • AB 1536: It will be legal to send and receive text messages with hands-free devices powered by voice-operated software. 
  • AB 1708: Drivers will have the right to show proof of insurance and registration on a smartphone or tablet when pulled over. 
  • AB 2405: Cars with Clean Air Vehicle stickers will be allowed to use High Occupancy Toll lanes. 
  • SB 1298: Self-driving cars will be allowed on public roads for testing purposes as long as a licensed driver is in the driver's seat. 
  • SB 1047: CHP will begin a Silver Alert system similar to Amber Alert, but for missing people over 65-years-old. 

What do you think of the new laws? What law would you add to make our roads safer? Tell us in the comments!

Jim C December 23, 2012 at 08:59 AM
Right on Wolf! All these people complain that the cops give tickets just to get money for the city. I'm fine with that! I wish they would hire additional officers just to enforce traffic laws...and up the penalties to the point people would stop driving so recklessly.
Robyn Moore December 23, 2012 at 08:42 PM
To help make our roads safer they need to do their jobs. Not putting someone in jail for driving with NO DL or suspended or revoked DL sends a message of "oh well, no big deal." These people have NO DL for a reason and should not be on the road as a driver. When charges are plead down and dropped the message is the same, no big deal. If you are endangering others lives and well being it neeeds to be taken seriously. The penalties need to fit the crime, no more slap on the wrist. Too many have been previously stopped for a violation revoked, suspended or no DL at all, only to be "warned" and let go with no impound of car etc. Then days weeks or months later someone is killed. It's way over due serious changes need to be made.
annie hansen December 27, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Please, may we have a law of passing only on the left & slower vehicles MOVE over & stay to the right, as in Europe; & teach conscientious driving with respect to those around you. Ditto on the motorcycle comments. Happy New Year all - be safe!
None December 27, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Try looking at California V C Section 21750 Overtake and Pass to Left, it's already on the books. Not observed or overused but it's been there for years. We have too many rules, regulations, and laws that are not observed. We don't need more.
None December 28, 2012 at 02:53 AM
"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian." - Henry Ford -


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