California Department of Motor Vehicles New 2014 Laws for Motorists
In 2014, there will be several new laws for motorists that will go into effect in California. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and law enforcement will be strictly enforcing the new laws for the safety of motorists and pedestrians ranging from enforcing stricter laws for bicycle safety, teen operation of communication devices, motor vehicle safety, to clean air vehicle identification. The enacted laws that will begin to go into effect starting on or after January 1, 2014 are:
Three Feet for Safety Act (AB1371)
The Three Feet for Safety Act benefits bicyclists and increases passing distance between vehicles and cyclists. The Three Feet for Safety Act requires that a motor vehicle allow for at least a three foot buffer between the moving vehicle and the oncoming bicyclist that is passing within the same direction. If the three feet safety buffer is not feasible by the driver passing the cyclist, every effort must be made to slow down the vehicle when passing the cyclist and only pass when there is no risk of injury to the oncoming cyclist. Failing to abide by this new safety Act can result in a fine, nevertheless if there is an accident, or not. The Three Feet for Safety Act will go into effect later on in 2014 on September 16, 2014.
Clean Air Vehicle Decals and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Stickers Required (AB266/SB286)
The Clean Air Vehicle Decals and HOV Stickers Required have together been extended as a requirement through January 1, 2019. The sunset dates for vehicles with low or zero emission standards that do not meet high occupancy vehicle (HOV) occupancy limit requirements are permitted to travel in HOV lanes with the appropriate Clean Air Vehicle Decal.
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Registration Pilot Program (SB806)
The DMV Registration Pilot Program allows for establishment of an experimental program that will allow for usage of alternative registration modes that are more cost effective such as possibly electronic license plates, and alternatives to plastic coated registration stickers and paper registration cards. The overall changes to methods will aim at being more cost effective and friendlier to the environment. Such as using electronic license plates, as opposed current metal and plastic based materials, as well as allow for experimentation with alternative methods instead of issuance of stickers and tabs.
Registration and Vehicle Transfers Between Family Members (AB443)
The new law in regards toRegistration and Vehicle Transfers Between Family Members has been enacted to prevent transfer of vehicle ownership to either a living relative or trust unless all fines including parking, toll, and other related penalties are resolved.
Teen Drivers (SB194)
The new motor vehicle law SB194 pertaining to teen drivers under the age of 18 years old prohibits the usage of electronic wireless communication devices including writing, sending, reading text based communication while operating a motor vehicle — even if said vehicle is equipped with a hands free device option.
Veterans License Plates (AB244)
The new Veterans License Plate law now requires that the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) sponsor a Veteran’s special interest license plate which will be distributed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles once established if CalVet currently meets all statutory requirements. In addition, the law must honor and reissue a Veteran’s Organization Plate design that was available for issue prior to January 1, 2010. The revised plate design will be available to all vehicle owners, and in order to implement the new program, the Department of Veterans Affairs must obtain 7,500 applications that are pre-paid.
Lastly, by January 1, 2015, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will begin to implement AB60; a new law requiring the DMV to issue driver’s licenses to applicants who are unable to furnish adequate proof that they are legally present within the United States. All other drivers’ license qualifications must be met satisfactory as well.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (AB1047)
Under the new regulations of the Commercial Driver’s License law, the law will allow for out of state drivers to have the ability to have the DMV conduct a commercial drive test for any driver who holds an out of state commercial learner’s permit. Giving individuals with an out of state permit the ability to obtain the CDL license in the State of California. Information pertaining to the applicant’s out of state commercial learner’s permit will be transmitted electronically to the California Department of Motor Vehicles from the applicants’ respective state of residence. The law will also allow for modification for drivers who operate buses. Drivers that operate buses that weigh more than 26,000 pounds are required to hold a Class B license, and drivers who operate buses weighing less than 26,000 are required to hold a commercial Class C license.