The California Highway Patrol will be enforcing some new regulations starting Friday, when several new laws go into effect. Two of the new laws go into effect July 1.
Move Over, Slow Down - This is kind of a three-peat; SB159 re-introduces the requirement that motorists driving on the freeway will have to slow down when they approach a stationary, authorized emergency vehicle displaying lights or a stationary tow truck with flashing amber warning lights and safely make a lane change from that lane, if possible. A third part of the new regulation adds California Department of Transportation vehicles with flashing amber lights to those considered emergency vehicles.
Your Passenger Can Watch, But Not You - similar to having your passenger answer your cell phone if it rings and you are without a hands-free device, AM62 allows drivers to operate vehicles with TV receivers, video monitors or screens or any other way of displaying a broadcast or video signal if the equipment is designed, operated and configured so that the driver is prevented from seeing the screen.
Crimes Against Highway Workers (AB561) - this new law amends section 2415 and 243-65 of the state Penal Code to expand the definition of a highway worker to include employees of a city or county who perform specified activities related to local streets and roads. It also includes those contractors working under contract with Caltrans, and subcontractors working on the highways or for cities and counties on road projects.
Good Samaritan Protection (AB83) - This law is already in effect and provides that a Good Samaritan who renders medical or non-medical care at the scene of an emergency would not be liable for any civil damages.
Charter Party Carriers (AB636) - This new law requires the Public Utilities Commission to permanently revoke a charter party carrier's authority to operate or permanently bar it from receiving a permit or certificate if that carrier operated a bus without proper permits from the commission or was cited three or more times for liability insurance violations, had vehicles improperly registered with the DMV or employed drivers without proper licenses or certificates for bus operation. The law also includes significant penalties for offenses and allows the CHP to impound buses for 30 days under certain conditions.
Toll Evasion Violations (AB628) - This law institutes a 'pay by plate' system where motorists are identified by their license plates and billed or the toll is deducted from the Automatic Vehicle Identification account. It also makes it illegal to enter a toll area without money or a transponder to pay electronically or without license plates on the vehicle.
Bicycles (SB527) - This new law allows a person to ride a bicycle without a seat if the bicycle was designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat.
The two laws that go into effect July 1 involve driving under the influence.
SB598 requires the DMV to advise second and third time misdemeanor DUI offenders of the following options: obtain a restricted driver's license that would allow driving after serving a 90-day suspension period for a second conviction of misdemeanor DUI or a six month suspension period for a third conviction of misdemeanor DUI if the violation only involves alcohol. The offender must enroll in a DUI program and install and maintain an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle.
AB91 establishes a pilot program in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare from July 1, 2010 to January 1, 2016. The pilot program will require, as a condition of reissuing a restricted driver's license, being issued a driver's license or having the privilege to operate a motor vehicle reinstated, subsequent to a conviction of any DUI offense; to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in any vehicle, not including a motorcycle owned or operated by the offender.
This new law also establishes installation requirements and requires the installer of the IID to notify the DMV when the IID has been tampered with, bypassed or attempted to be removed. The length of time the IID would be required to be installed in the person's vehicle is based upon the number of DUI convictions and whether the offense was a misdemeanor or felony DUI.