2017 New Laws

2017 New Laws For Motorists

2017 New Laws For Motorists

Yes, it’s February (already!), but just in case you missed it, here is a recap of some of the new 2017 laws you should be aware of.

Wireless Devices

“This bill targets the deadliest cause of distracted driving related crashes, the use of an electronic device while driving," Assemblymember Bill Quirk said. AB 1785 revises the current law on using wireless communications devices, like smart phones, while driving.

Motorists are prohibited from holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or electronic communications devices while driving, unless it is mounted on the vehicle's windshield, or affixed to a dashboard or center console in a way that does not hinder the individual's view of the road. This means no holding your cell phone at all ever!!


According to the new law, a motorist can only use his or her hand to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device that requires a single swipe or tap. The law does not apply to systems that are installed by manufacturers and embedded in the vehicle.  


The legislation marks a change from the existing policy, which states any person operating a motor vehicle cannot use a wireless electronic device to write, send or read a text-based communication, except through voice-operated and hands-free features.


This means be careful! Just having a cell in your hand is reason enough for a citation!


Motorcycle Lane Splitting. Assembly Bill (AB) 51

California became the first state in the U.S. to formally legalize lane splitting when Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 51 last August. The law defines the practice as a motorist driving a two-wheeled motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles. It also authorizes the California Highway Patrol to develop educational guidelines on lane splitting to help ensure the safety of all motorists.


So right now, there are no specific guidelines. CHP will have to consult with other state traffic safety agencies and at least one organization focused on motorcycle safety in crafting the guidelines. For example, if traffic is stopped at a standstill, you can't have a motorcycle that is traveling at 50-60 mph as it's dangerous for both the motorcyclist and the vehicles around as well.


Bottom line this means lane splitting is perfectly legal and those of us driving cars need to be extra careful in watching for motorcycles when changing lanes.


Drunk Driving - Senate Bill (SB)1046

This law is an extension of a pilot program in 4 counties (Sacramento, Los Angeles, Tulare, and Alameda) that requires a driving under the influence (DUI) offender to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle for a specified period of time in order to get a restricted driver license or to reinstate their license. This is the only way someone in one of these 4 counties with a DUI can get back behind the wheel


The law also removes the required suspension time before a person can get a restricted license, provided that the offender installs an IID on their vehicle. The law extends the current four-county (Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare) DUI IID pilot program until January 1, 2019, at which time all DUI offenders statewide will be required to install an IID to have their license reinstated.


So, in other words, starting 2019, this will be the law throughout California.


Temporary License Plates. AB 516

AB 516 will modernize California’s vehicle identification system by assigning temporary license plates at the point of sale before a vehicle drives off the lot. The reason behind the bill came from a fatal hit and run accident, in southern California in 2013. The vehicle involved was caught on video surveillance and has yet to be found and the case left unsolved because there were paper dealer plates on the vehicle.


Many crimes have been perpetrated since then that remain unsolved, in large part because the vehicles involved cannot be identified, beyond color, make and model. Therefore, to give time for preparation of the new plates starting January 1, 2019, paper dealer plates will be replaced with temporary license plates throughout California.


And just to remind you, as drivers, it's our responsibility as a citizen and a driver to know the law. Ignorance is no excuse, even if the cop stopping you knows less about the latest traffic laws than you do.


To read more interesting and informative car and driving-related articles, click here. And if you have a car problem you’d like to chat about, give us a call at 951-461-2507. We are always happy to answer questions.

Tags: 2017 driving laws, new motorist laws, drunk driving, lane splitting, motorcycle, cell phones and driving