What are the new California traffic laws for 2019? As we roll into a new year, Californians need to be aware of a number of new traffic laws that might affect them in 2019. These laws may have an impact on cyclists, motorists, minors, scooter riders, DUI offenders, and others. It is important for you to familiarize yourself with these laws so that you do not commit any traffic violations in the upcoming year. Here is a description of each of these new laws and what they might require you to do.
SB 1046 was sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo. The law was effective on Jan. 1, 2019, and it deals with the installation of ignition interlock devices on vehicles of repeat DUI offenders. People who are convicted of a first DUI offense in which they caused injuries are also required to install ignition interlock devices under the law. Previously, this law had existed in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento, and Tulare as a pilot program.
Since Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law, the act will now apply statewide. While drivers in the four pilot program areas will not experience a change, people who live in other areas will be. Drivers will be eligible to get restricted licenses as soon as they have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles rather than having to wait through a previously mandatory 30-day suspension period.
Sponsored by Richard Bloom, the Democratic Assemblyman from Alameda, this law allows zero-emission vehicles to use the carpool lanes even if they are occupied by only one person. In order to take advantage of this law, you will need to purchase a clean air vehicle decal for $22 from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
AB 1755 was sponsored by former Republican Assemblyman Marc Steinorth of Rancho Cucamonga. This law extends the felony hit and run law in California to include cyclists who leave the scenes of accidents on bicycle paths. Cyclists who have crashes with others on bicycle paths must remain at the scene of the accident. If they leave, they may face felony charges if the accident resulted in an injury or the death of another person.
This law is important because people who are injured in crashes with other cyclists on bicycle paths may have little recourse if the cyclist cannot be found. In addition to this new criminal law, injured victims may also use the help of an experienced injury lawyer. An attorney might identify the responsible cyclist by using investigators, obtaining and reviewing camera footage, and other methods.
People who drive vehicles that are up to eight years old may benefit from AB 1274. The bill, which was sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell of Long Beach, expands the exemption for smog checks from vehicles up to six years old to vehicles up to eight years old. The fee for the exemption will be $25 for vehicles that are seven or eight years old and $20 for vehicles that are six years old or newer.
Sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Heath Flora of Ripon, AB 2989 removes the requirement for scooter riders to wear helmets if they are older than age 18. Under this law, people are not able to operate motorized scooters on roads with speed limits of more than 35 mph or on highways with speed limits of more than 25 mph. However, people may operate scooters on roads with higher speed limits as long as they do so within marked bikeways.
As scooters have become widely available thanks to Lime and Bird, many people who ride scooters in Northern and Southern California do not have adequate training in how to operate them properly. Since the helmet requirement has been removed, the likelihood that people will be injured in scooter accidents is sure to increase. People who are injured in scooter accidents with other vehicles may be able to recover damages with the help of an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.
AB 516 was sponsored by South San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin. Under this law, automobile dealers of both used and new vehicles must attach temporary license plates to vehicles that are sold that do not have plates issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
AB 1824 is a new law that the Assembly Committee on Budget sponsored. This law mandates a fine for an excessively loud muffler on a motorcycle or motor vehicle. In the past, motorists who violate the law could correct the issue to avoid paying the fine.
Sponsored by Michael Santiago, the Democratic Assemblyman from Los Angeles, AB 2115 imposes a duty on motorists when they approach garbage collection vehicles that have their amber lights turned on. Motorists are required to get into the adjacent lane to pass the garbage trucks at a safe distance or to slow to a reasonable and prudent speed if they are unable to pull into the adjacent lane.
Under AB 1925, which was sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Stephen Choi of Irvine, the Department of Motor Vehicles will now be required to include one or more questions on the drivers’ examinations about the proper securement of loads. This would include the importance of securing loose items such as ladders and buckets.
SB 169 was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego. This law permits people to self-identify their preferred gender category when they apply for drivers’ licenses. People who identify as non-binary will have the designation appear as an X.
AB 2685 was sponsored by Tom Lackey, the Republican Assemblyman from Palmdale. Under this law, judges are not allowed to suspend the driving privileges of minors because of truancy. Previously, the juvenile court was able to suspend or restrict the ability of chronically truant minors for up to a year.
AB 3077 was sponsored by former Democratic Assemblywoman Anna Caballero of Salinas. Under this law, law enforcement officers are granted the authority to issue tickets to minors who are younger than age 18 who are riding on bicycles, skates, or skateboards without wearing helmets. In order to correct the ticket, the minors must get helmets that comply with safety standards within 120 days and complete a safety course.
As we have previously noted, fewer than 50 percent of children who are younger than age 14 routinely wear bicycle helmets. Certified and properly fitted helmets help to decrease the risk of a head injury by 45 percent. Hopefully, this law will help to reduce the number of serious head injuries that happen to children in California as more people become aware of the existence of the law.
Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles
It is important for people to know the traffic laws so that they can make certain to follow them. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone who was violating one of these or another traffic law, you may have legal rights to recover compensation for the non-economic and economic losses that you have suffered as a result. Call the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat to schedule a free consultation at 866.966.5240.