New Laws Effective January 1st, 2017

New Laws Coming Your Way January 1st, 2017

It’s that time again — New laws are hitting the roads! Two states, California and Illinois, once again lead the pack with new legislation geared towards making the roads safer. Below is an overview of the main points of the new laws. Keep in mind that it may take some time before the DMV manuals are updated. New manuals are almost never released on January 1. But, if the law is in place, you can get a ticket for violating it.

If taking a test, either there will be an updated insert or a notice at your DMV, or you probably just won’t get a question on the topic until the DMV manual has been updated by your state.

Here are the new laws you need to know.

Happy New Year Everyone!


The Village News captured some of the most recent California updates

Child safety seats (AB 53)

Although this law was passed during the 2015 legislative session, it takes effect Jan. 1, 2017. Children under two years of age must ride rear-facing in an appropriate child passenger safety seat. Children weighing 40 or more pounds, or standing 40 or more inches tall, are exempt. California law continues to require that all children under the age of eight be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat in the back seat of a vehicle.

Vehicles: Use of Wireless Electronic Devices (AB 1785)

Motorists are no longer permitted to hold a wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device while driving a motor vehicle. Rather than holding the device, it must be mounted in the 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver. Another option is to affix the device to the dashboard in a place that does not obstruct the driver’s clear view of the road and does not interfere with the deployment of an airbag.

The law does allow a driver to operate one of these devices with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the finger, but not while holding it.

Driving under the influence: Ignition Interlock Device (SB 1046)

This law 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. 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 Jan. 1, 2019, at which time all DUI offenders statewide will be required to install an IID to have their license reinstated.

Vehicle Motorcycles: Lane Splitting (AB 51)

Current law does not change; lane splitting by a motorcyclist remains legal if done safely. This bill defines lane splitting as driving a motorcycle, which has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or
moving vehicles in the same lane. The bill permits the CHP to develop lane splitting educational safety guidelines in consultation with other state traffic safety agencies and at least one organization focused on motorcycle safety.

Pasadena Now also provides additional information: on new fees. You didn’t think Californians would escape fee increases did you?

Vehicle Registration Fee

The new law increases the vehicle registration fee on every vehicle or trailer coach from $43 to $53 beginning April 1, 2017.

Environmental (Personalized) License Plates

The fee for issuance of such plates jumps from $43 to $53 starting July 1, 2017, and the fee for the renewal, retention, transfer, or duplication of personalized plates increases from $38 to $43 effective January 1, 2017.

Accident Reporting

For quite some time, the law required that you report any motor vehicle collision in which you were involved if the damage was $750 or more. The new law raises the threshold to $1,000. (And a friendly reminder…you must report such a collision, regardless of who was at fault, to the DMV within 10 days to avoid license suspension.)

ILLINOIS reports the following new laws:

“Move Over Law” Amended

Starting January 1, Illinois drivers must slow down and change lanes, if possible, when approaching a stopped vehicle with hazard lights flashing.
That’s an amendment to Scott’s Law — the “Move Over” law — that, for several years, has mandated drivers slow down, change lanes (if possible) and proceed with caution when they encounter a stopped emergency vehicle with lights flashing.

The expansion of the law — including a mandatory minimum fine of $120 — includes any stopped vehicle with hazard lights flashing.

Penalty for Driving Without Insurance

Motorists driving without insurance now face stiffer penalties. On a second offense within 12 months of a conviction for that offense, the motorist’s vehicle will be towed and impounded.

Reminder: Work/School Zone Violation now a Misdemeanor

State Police also are reminding motorists of a law that took effect a year ago that upgraded speeding in a work or school zone from a citation to a misdemeanor crime, including the possibility of jail time. Going from 26 to 35 miles per hour over posted speed limits is now a Class B misdemeanor. Going more than 35 mph over posted speeds is a Class A misdemeanor.

The Chicago Tribune highlights some additional changes below:

Railroad Crossing Fine Violation Increase

Fines for driving into a railroad grade crossing when signals to stop are active increase from $250 to $500 for the first offense and from $500 to $1,000 for the second violation. A court may also impose 25 hours of community service in place of the first-time $500 fine.

Driver’s Education

Students in drivers education courses will now be taught safe procedures to follow when involved in a traffic stop under another new law. The new education component includes keeping hands in view at all times, remaining calm and being aware of drivers’ rights when it comes to interacting with law enforcement. Traffic stop education must be taught in courses offered by public schools, non-public schools, and driver training schools, the new law says.

Vehicle Registration Date Options

The Illinois Secretary of State can allow a motorist to select his or her birthday as the vehicle’s registration date. For vehicles with more than one owner, one of the owner’s birthdays may be selected as the registration date.

FREE DMV Test Question:

Here’s your FREE DMV question and answer. FREE DMV Question (answer at bottom of page):
You enter a designated turn lane to make a left turn at an upcoming intersection. There is oncoming traffic. You should: A. Move to the center of the center lane B. Signal before you arrive at the intersection C. Turn your front wheels to the left to be prepared to turn

Lisa Lippiner covers driving news for, making the roads safer one test taker at a time.

FREE DMV Question and Answer: A is the correct answer.

New Laws Effective October 1st, 2016

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