The California Highway Patrol announced traffic legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2010 or are going into effect this year. Some of the more significant laws are listed here.
Driving under the influence
- Ignition Interlock Devices (AB 91) Effective July 1, 2010, establishes a pilot program in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare from July 1, 2010 to January 1, 2016 that requires convicted DUI offenders to install an IID in any vehicle, other than a motorcycle, that the person owns or operates as a condition to having a driver’s license reinstated, issued, or reissued. It also establishes installation requirements and requires the installer to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles when the IID has been tampered with, bypassed or attempted to be removed.
- Driving Under the Influence (SB 598) Effective July 1, 2010, requires the DMV to advise second and third time misdemeanor DUI offenders that they may obtain a restricted driver’s license that would allow driving after serving a suspension of 90 days for a second conviction or six months for a third conviction of misdemeanor DUI if the violation only involves alcohol. The offender must enroll in a DUI program and the offender must install and maintain an IID in their vehicle.
Highway emergencies and workers
- Move Over/Slow Down (SB 159) removes the January 1, 2010, sunset date on Section 21809 VC, which requires a person driving a vehicle on a freeway and approaching in a lane immediately adjacent to a stationary, authorized emergency vehicle that displays emergency lights, or a stationary tow truck that displays flashing amber warning lights, to safely make a lane change from that lane, or slow to a reasonable speed; and Section 25253 VC, which requires tow trucks used to tow disabled vehicles to be equipped with flashing amber warning lamps and authorizes tow trucks to display flashing amber warning lamps while providing service to a disabled vehicle. This section prohibits tow trucks from displaying flashing amber warning lamps on a freeway except when an unusual traffic hazard or extreme hazard exists.
- Department of Transportation Vehicles (SB 240) adds a stationary, marked Caltrans vehicle displaying flashing amber warning lights to the “Move Over/Slow Down Law.”
- Crimes Against Highway Workers – Assault and Battery (AB 561) amends the penal code to expand the definition of a highway worker to include employees of a city or county who perform specified activities related to local streets and roads. Additionally this new law includes in the definition of a highway worker, employees of a contractor while working under contract with Caltrans, contractors and employees of contractors while working under contract with a city or county and volunteers.
- Personal Liability Immunity (AB 83) was effective August 6, 2009 and provides that a Good Samaritan who renders medical or non-medical care at the scene of an emergency would not be liable for any civil damages.
Evading payment of tolls
- Toll Evasion Violations (AB 628) permits vehicular crossings and toll highways operating in California to use a pay-by-plate toll system where motorists are identified by their vehicle license plate and billed or the toll is deducted from the Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) account. This law also provides that it is evidence of a violation for a person to enter a vehicular crossing or toll highway without at least one of the following: money in an amount to pay the prescribed tolls, transponder or other electronic toll payment device associated with a valid AVI account, or a valid vehicle license plate properly affixed to the vehicle in accordance with current law.
- Television Broadcast or Video Signal (AB 62) allows a person to drive a motor vehicle with a television receiver, video monitor, television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal if the equipment is designed, operated and configured in a manner that prevents the driver of the motor vehicle from viewing the television broadcast or video signal while operating the vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.
Source: California Highway Patrol media release, December 23, 2009
For more information: California Highway Patrol, California Department of Motor Vehicles, California Legislative Council