As we roll into 2016, new California laws relating to motorists and public safety have taken affect. You may have heard of several of these issues during debates in 2015 when they were just bills. Now that they are laws, it is important to be mindful of how they can effect your day-to-day life. Here are some key laws that will take effect on New Year’s Day (others during the first week of January).
Driving under the influence (SB 61): The new law extends the existing Ignition Interlock Device (IID) project to July 1, 2017. The project requires a person convicted of a DUI to install an IID for five months on first offense, one year on second offense, two years on third offense and three years on a forth or subsequent offense.
The law that was initially set to end January 1, 2016, will affect Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties.
Earbuds or headsets (SB 491): This law will prevent drivers from wearing headsets, earplugs or earphones in or over both ears while operating a vehicle or bicycle. It does not, however, apply to those using safety earplugs or headsets while operating authorized emergency vehicles, construction equipment and waste equipment.
Pedal-Powered Vehicles (SB 530): If authorized by a city ordinance, Sacramento brew bikes riders may soon be able to drink alcohol while pedaling through Midtown. The law also expands the definition of a pedicab to include brew bikes, or any four-wheel vehicle seating eight or more and cannot travel faster than 15 mile per hour.
Electrically motorized skateboards (AB 604): If you got one of those new hoverboard scooters, or now-defined “electrically motorized skateboards”, during the holidays, you might not want to get on it before reading up on the new laws surrounding the boards.
Beginning New Year’s Day, the law will restrict use of the boards in public facilities and require them to be operated with safety equipment (i.e. helmets). In addition, riders must be 16 years or older to operate them, wear equipment to help with visibility at night and travel less than 35 miles per hour. It is also illegal to ride or operate one while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Violating the law could cost you a fine up to $250.
Electric Bicycles (AB 1096): There’s a new definition of electric bicycles added to the California Vehicle Code — “a bicycle with fully operational pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.” Riders will be able to use roads similar to those used by bicyclists, while providing a measure of local control safety on specific paths or public trails.
Yellow Alert (AB 8): The new alert system will be established for specific hit-and-run incidents that result in serious injury or death, according to the California Highway Patrol. Much like AMBER alerts, the CHP and requesting law enforcement agencies will determine whether the accident meets the requirement for the alert.
The criteria in the new law include availability of information about the suspect or the suspect’s vehicle and whether releasing the information will be helpful.
Silver Alerts (AB 643): The alert system has been modified to allow the notification to be communicated on Changeable Message Signs (CMS) when a vehicle is involved in the missing person incident.
Highway Lane Use (AB 208): All slow-moving passenger vehicles are required to pull over safely to let traffic pass. The legal requirement now adds bicycles to the list of vehicles that must use the next available turnout or other area to let backed-up traffic pass by.
Our personal injury attorneys and staff at Chris and Frank wish you a happy and healthy 2016!