CALIFORNIA—Starting Sunday, January 1, 2017, a multitude of new driving laws will go into effect according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The new transportation laws cover a wide range of subjects from child safety seats to electronic wireless device usage.

A few updated or reformed laws that California drivers should be aware of include the following:

  • Child Safety Seats (Assembly Bill 53): Requires all children under 2 to be in the appropriate, rear-facing car seat. Any child that weighs more than 40 pounds or is taller than 40 inches is an exception.
  • Usage of Electronic Wireless Devices (Assembly Bill 1785): Drivers are prohibited from using any wireless device which requires more than a swipe or tap to operate. Any wireless device must be mounted on the car, allowing the driver to be hands-free.
  • Splitting of Motorcycle Lanes allows drivers of motorcycles to legally maneuverer between rows of moving or stopped cars.
  • DUI Ignition Interlocking Devices (Senate Bill 1046): A reform to an earlier bill requiring those convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle, hindering the drivers capability to operate a vehicle while under the influence.
  • School Bus Safety (Senate Bill 1072): Requires all vehicles designated for child transportation to install a child safety alert system. The bill also requires schools to enact safety plans which would ensure no child is left unsupervised on the bus.
  • Fee Increase for Environmental License Plates (Senate Bill 839): This bill increases the issue free of Environmental license plates from $43 to $53. Renewals will increase from $38 to $43.
  • Accident Reporting (Senate Bill 491): The minimum amount of property damage to be reported when a driver is involved in a collision will increase from $750 to $1,000 in 2017.
  • Vehicle Safety Recalls (Assembly Bill 1289): Enacts the Consumer Automatic Recall Safety Act which bans rental car companies and dealers from loaning or renting any vehicle that has been recalled by it’s manufacturer no more than 48 hours following its notice of recall. In addition, the bill would require the DMV to issue a recall disclosure statement with vehicle renewal documents. Any dealer or company that does not comply with the CARS act is subject to suspension.
  • Manufacture Year License Plates (Senate Bill 1429): Expands the authorization of license plates to California residents that own a model from 1980 or older. License plates from the year the car was manufactured may replace today’s standard license plate.