Now that 2019 has arrived, there are several new laws, as well as changes to existing laws, that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) wants you to know about.
The following are the new traffic laws and changes for Californians in 2019:
- Ignition interlock device (IID) installation in DUI cases – Starting from the first of this month until January 1, 2026, repeat DUI offenders and first-time DUI which results in an injury are now required to install an IID for a period between 12 and 48 months. If a person’s license was suspended due to the Administrative Per Se law, he/she can get a restricted license by installing an IID. Furthermore, county courts have the discretion to order first-time DUI offenders (not involving injury) to install an IID for up to six months. If a first-time offender’s license is suspended, they can apply for an IID for a hardship license which enables them to commute back and forth from work and a DUI treatment program.
- Motorized scooters – Individuals 18 years of age or older are no longer required to wear bicycle helmets when riding motorized scooters. In addition, an existing law which prohibits individuals from using motorized scooters on roadways with a posted speed limit over 25 mph unless it is within a Class II or IV bikeway. However, it allows local authorities to allow motorize scooters on roads with a posted speed limit of up to 35 mph.
- Temporary license plate – California car dealerships are quires to attach temporary paper license plates once a new or used vehicle is sold. These temporary plates include a unique number and a date of expiration. This law was created to thwart toll violators.
- Smog checks and abatement fees – Expanding existing law, the smog check exemption now applies to vehicles which are eight model years old, as opposed to six model years. While the first six years of exemption still results in an annual smog abatement fees of $20, the additional two years will cost $25.
- Minor drivers – Juvenile court no longer has the authority to suspend or restrict the driving privileges of a habitual truant or ward of the state for a maximum one-year period. However, suspensions made prior to this year are still in effect.
- Nonbinary option – If wish to apply for a state driver’s license or identification card, you are given the opportunity to choose nonbinary in the gender category.
- Unsecured cargo – The DMV will no include at least one question related to unsafe and unsecured cargo loads in knowledge tests for driver license applicants. Since unsecured loads can be hazardous, all vehicles with such cargo must be secured or covered.
- Use of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes – A new program allows low-emission and transitional zero-emission motor vehicles to drive on HOV lanes for up to four years. Vehicles with a white or green decal are no longer able to drive on HOV lanes. If a green or white decal was issued between January 2017 and March 2018, the driver can obtain a red decal which lasts until 2022. Light purple decals will be issued this year, granting access to HOV lanes until 2023.
For more information about the new traffic laws in California, contact our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney at Appel & Morse today.