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New California Motor Vehicle Laws for 2013

On January 1, 2013, the state of California passed a handful of new laws that revolve around the privilege of driving or actual drivers. Each of these laws is unique and has a swath of effects on drivers in California. Here is a quick overview of each law and what it means to you as a driver on California’s highways and roads:

Assembly Bill No. 45

  • What is it? The driver of a chartered bus or limo now needs to verify the ages of his or her passengers, to ensure those passengers that are drinking while in the bus/limo are of legal drinking age. If the driver finds an underage passenger indulging in some alcohol, the driver is to immediately terminate the contract and return the passengers to the point of origin.
  • What’s this mean? This means that companies that charter buses and limousines are going to be more careful of passengers drinking in their vehicles.

Senate Bill No. 1047

  • What is it? The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is now able to issue Amber Alerts to help find missing senior citizens, as long as the missing persons meet five individual criteria.
  • What’s this mean? This means that the CHP will be able to help with more missing persons situations than before 1/1/2013.

Senate Bill 1298

  • What is it? This bill legalizes the use of autonomous cars in California. This bill establishes the safety and performance standards for these autonomous vehicles.
  • What’s this mean? This means automatically controlled vehicles, such as the infamous Google Car will probably start to find their way onto the roads of CA.

Assembly Bill No. 1536

  • What is it? Drivers will be legally allowed to text using a device that is completely hands-free and utilizes voice activation commands.
  • What’s this mean? With this bill in place, we’re going to see more drivers texting using their hands-free devices. This might lead to an increase in accidents because drivers will be fumbling to actually turn on their voice activated devices. Also, be wary of drivers who might use this as a gateway to more freely texting in the “traditional” sense – with thumbs.

Assembly Bill No. 2020

  • What is it? This bill removes the option of a urine test for drivers that are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. Those persons arrested for DUI will now have only two options of testing for intoxication: breath and blood tests.
  • What’s this mean? Those arrested for DUI will have one fewer testing option.

Assembly Bill No. 2405

  • What is it? Known as the “Choose Clean Cars Act of 2012,” this bill will allow ultra-low emission vehicles to utilize the HOV lanes, even with only one person in the car.
  • What’s this mean? A few more Toyota Prius and Nissan Leafs in the HOV lanes.

We hope that the information we have made available to you will be helpful as you drive on the roads in Southern California and throughout the State of California. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with these new laws. Drive safely.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or have lost a loved one in such an accident, you may be entitled to damages from the responsible driver. A skilled personal injury attorney can evaluate the case and protect your rights.

Our founding attorney, Scott J. Corwin, has more than 30 years of experience in representing accident victims injured in all forms of motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle and bicycle accidents, in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and throughout the state of California.

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