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New California Laws to Affect Drivers in 2013

Several laws and amendments passed by the California State Legislature will go into effect on Jan. 1 and could affect many California drivers.

The new year is almost here and with it comes the resolution, a promise to change the way we've done things in the past.

The state of California has made several resolutions herself and we've decided to focus on the ones that affect drivers.

Below is a list of new laws or changes to existing laws that go into effect on Tuesday and will likely affect you as a California driver.   

  • Passenger Charter-party Carriers’ Act, AB 45: Any driver of a chartered limo or bus will be required to make sure that passengers are of the legal drinking age when alcohol is being consumed in their vehicle. If a minor is found to have been drinking alcohol during the ride, the driver is required to return that passenger to where they were picked up.  
  • CHP Silver Alerts, SB 1047: The California Highway Patrol will implement a "silver alert" into its emergency alert system to allow it to assist in searches for missing people over the age of 65. 

How will these laws affect you? Tell us in the comments section below.

  • Autonomous Vehicles, SB 1298: The law will allow for self-driving cars to be test-driven on public roads while a licensed driver is in the driver's seat. The driver will be able to take over immediate manual control in the event of vehicle failure or some other emergency.
  • Used Car Dealer Practices, AB 1534, AB 1447: Under AB 1534, used car dealers that provide direct financing to buyers must label their cars with specific information about them, including reasonable market value and the source of the information. AB 1447 will require these dealers provide a vehicle warranty, limit them from tracking customer vehicles with GPS devices and prevent them from being able to electronically disable a vehicle without signed consent from the buyer at the time of purchase.
  • Hands-Free Text and Driving, AB 1536: The law will allow a person to send and receive text messages while driving if they are doing so using a phone's hands-free, voice-operated functions.   
  • Veteran License Plates, AB 1550: Veterans will be able to apply for specialized plates designating them as participants of specific wars or conflicts with the use of new decals. Old decals will be phased out depending on demand and cost of production.
  • California Legacy Plates, AB 1658: Drivers whose cars are registered in California will be able to opt for specialized license plates that look similar to plates used in the state in past years.
  • Traffic Violator School, AB 1888: The law will allow a driver with a commercial license who has committed a traffic offense to attend traffic violator school, thus preventing them from getting a point on their license.
  • Driving Under the Influence, AB 2020: A person arrested for suspected DUI will no longer be given the option of a urine test. In previous years, the option was given of either a urine test or a blood test.
  • Choose Clean Cars Act, AB 2405: Vehicles that meet California's super ultra-low emissions standards may qualify for stickers which will allow for single-driver travel in high-occupancy vehicle lanes. 
  • Vessel Registration Fees, AB 2443: The registration fee for boat owners will increase to support the monitoring and infestation prevention of dreissenid mussels, which attach to the bottoms of boats.
nonoise January 02, 2013 at 06:11 AM
Hans, I am glad you support my right to freedom of speech even if you disagree with me. I also support your freedom of speech even though I disagree with you. You see I appreciate liberty and freedom of speech. First amendment is extremely important. I learned that when the priest from Divine Saviour Catholic Church took me to court to shut me up. When your freedom is almost taken away you realize how precious it is. Such an experience is a real eye opening experience. (They lost, I won.). And, those Democrats (most of them) who claim to believe in separation of church and state supported the church. The policitian Councilmember Ed Reyes gave the church a letter of support. He is no supporter of first amendment rights. Liberty is extremely important. It is hard to explain unless you have it threatened and almost taken away. Then you have a new appreciation for it. Hans, I hope you understand that the government does need to be limited as people need freedom of choice and freedom of speech and lot of other types of freedom too. Without freedom we have corupt government, corupt politicans and corupt religious organizations forcing their agenda on people. And, we already have some of that. Luckily there are judges that know and follow the law to keep our country free. Freedom of speech is precious. Don't let any politican, church, or anyone else take it away.
William Korn January 02, 2013 at 06:42 AM
So sorry, John, but you're once again mistaken. The point of discussion started with AB 1536, which amended an existing law so as to ALLOW certain types of e-communication while driving. Didn't you read the bill? All you have to do is click on the little blue AB 1536 in the article, above. It was you who diverted the issue with the tired old libertarian saw "No law is going to correct personal behavior...", and followed it up with ad hominem attacks. Not that I mind them. When one uses them it means one has run out of anything substantive to say.
Concerned and observant January 02, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Barbara and people that agree with her: in 2009 I witnessed a woman being grabbed and pulled into a car by two men that sped away as I turned the corner to my residential street. I called police and followed the car (something that is NOT advised by police, btw) But I followed the car for 4 miles, giving a detailed account of the kidnapping vehicle's whereabouts and it's highly likely I saved that woman's life with the aid of myell phone. Your proposed device better have some way to disable for situations like that, thus also rendering t almost useless bc "emergency " situations are subjective. Jmho.
Samirah January 02, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Sprint has something that disables texting while driving
Viper January 03, 2013 at 01:25 PM
"That Guy": Vehicle Drivers cannot be Cited on Private Property unless the LEO was in hot pursuit. You can drive blind drunk on private property and, unless you enter public property, LEO cannot do a thing about it without a complaint by the property owner. If the "Citizen" was a prisoner, the LEO cannot make any stops between the arrest location and the delivery point.
John B. Greet January 03, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Viper: Yes and no. LE can, indeed, enforce traffic laws on private property when the owner/manager expressly authorizes the enforcement. One can often see evidence of this at the entrance to parking lots and structures at shopping malls and hospitals, for example, where signs are clearly posted notifying the public that the Vehicle Code can and will be enforced on the property.
Revvell January 03, 2013 at 05:17 PM
That guy ~ I said, another civilian besides myself. He didn't explain to me why he didn't cite the guy and he didn't know if he'd picked up to answer a call when he was already on private property. That's all I can say on this. The deputies know their jobs. I leave it to them.
John January 03, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Hans, I might also add that newer cars are coming with data recorders installed. Add that to the increasing demand for being "connected" devices much like smart phones are now incorporated into the entertainment systems. The insurance companies and the auto manufacturers are going to know as well what exactly was going on inside the car at the time of an accident.
David Allen January 03, 2013 at 06:53 PM
"Hands Free" what a joke!! How many people do you see holding their phone in front of them using the speakerphone feature? That is NOT handsfree. What makes you think that this "handsfree" concept for messaging is going to be any different? I can just see it now..Hands Free Textiing... people holding their phone in front of their face and using their tongue or nose to type with. Kodak moment if I ever saw one... This new law is not a good one!
David Smith January 03, 2013 at 10:21 PM
California is a bankrupt, moronic state that voted a corrupt entitlement king and union pawn into the Governor's office, voted for more taxes, voted for more spending, voted for more debt and more government. Thousands of businesses have fled the state for other more business-friendly states like Texas and Nevada. "Red" states are faring much better for one reason--they are more fiscally-conservative, something liberals fail to understand or do not care to understand because of their entitlement mentality. There is a reason the "Red Belt" is doing far better than the liberal, wasteful "blue states." Unemployment is much lower in the "Red Belt" than on the "Left Coast" or on the East Coast. What is the "Red Belt?" It is North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and there is a reason they say "Don't Mess With Texas." They don't want liberals there screwing up their fiscally-conservative state. Keep the Red Belt red and stay in your Blue, financially dead state, liberals.
David Ssdjjoj January 03, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Destroying the tyranny of taxation and the Socialist entitlement policies of the Obama Administration through offshore bank accounts: www.offshorebanking.com No U.S. tax treaties and low tax bank accounts; giving the big " 'F' you" to the I.R.S.
Gayle M. Montgomery January 03, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Let's not exclude all the cops I see driving and talking on their cells. Not all cops, not everywhere, but enough that should know better. Most smart phones are backlit to the point that, if you try to text at night, they can see the light from your phone and pretty much know what you're doing.
John Smith January 03, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Destroying the tyranny of taxation and the Socialist entitlement policies of the Obama Administration through offshore bank accounts: www.offshorebanking.com No U.S. tax treaties and low tax bank accounts; giving the big " 'F' you" to the I.R.S.
Gayle M. Montgomery January 03, 2013 at 10:32 PM
By the way, the previous law said you were allowed to dial from your phone while driving. With Siri, it's a hold a button and issue a command. With some phones, it is the old fashioned, dial. I don't think there was a differentiation.
not Carl Peterson lll January 03, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Dave, yes, good call. I would like to add to your first part. California passed a cap-n-trade law. This tax is a total loss. We are voluntarily taxing ourselves for the air of the whole globe. to "show an example". What? billions of dollars tossed in the air for an example?? BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE!!! While we were sleeping. Gov. Brown signed off the money that is supposed to help the environment, and just tosses it into the general fund for more spending!!!!!
Auzziegirl January 03, 2013 at 10:36 PM
And one more thing.... driving is a privledge not a right!
John Smith January 03, 2013 at 10:37 PM
How are those Facebook tax revenues working out for you Jerry Brown? So, you did not get those funds, as you expected.
not Carl Peterson lll January 03, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Oh I forgot. That tax will cost every Ca. family 4 - 5 thousand dollars every single year, as well as more biz taxing. We are falling over the cliff way before the San Andreas fault ever had a chance
Gayle M. Montgomery January 03, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Robert, could you clarify what you meant about mongrels?
John Smith January 03, 2013 at 10:40 PM
How are those new Obama taxes working out for you California liberals? You poor people earning $20,000 to $30,000 will pay $300 more in taxes this year. When you are screaming that you cannot afford $2 more for food, remember that you voted for Obama, celebrated Nov. 7th and loved it. You got what you voted for now deal with it!
John Smith January 03, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Herman Cain would have been the "real black man" and the one who would have whipped Obama's ass and straightened out the mess Obama created in this country. The ethnic factor would have been removed from the debate and people would have voted strictly on merit. No one really cared about Cain's sexual affair any more than the liberals cared about Bill Clinton's affair with Lewensky.
Gayle M. Montgomery January 03, 2013 at 10:50 PM
John, I didn't see anything about changes to child safety seats. They were changed in 2012. Did they revise them again? The target moved from 6 to 8 year olds in 2012. I have a nearly 7-year old granddaughter who, because of a cast, had to stand next to the first grade teacher for school pictures. She was tall as the second row and chasing the teacher in height. Yet, the law requires a booster because of age. I have one for her, but occasionally I have to take it out of the car and have to remember to put it back in before I pick her up. Are there changes to that I should be aware of. She is most precious cargo and deserves to be protected, but I'm wondering what the requirements are.
Naila, sch2 January 04, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Wow!!! I can't believe I read all that jibber jabber. I hope we Americans realize that our country is in trouble. Our constitution is being altered because of individual acts. Obama, I guess you just don't know who you voted for. He is the worst president ever. He has no interest in saving our country. Preserving our constitution. What our founding fathers fought for. Our government have lost touch with society. They should become citizens again. Then they will know the struggles of the American people, what they like to say so much. The American people...blablabla. They swear in their oath to protect the constitution, all I see and hear is to alter it. Just saying...
JeffHB January 04, 2013 at 06:18 AM
Actually California is projecting surpluses now that Prop 30 passed. Not bankrupt at all.
David Smith January 04, 2013 at 07:03 AM
We sane Americans do indeed realize this country is beyond "in trouble" because of the Obama Administration's entitlement spending policies. This will ultimately cause the financial collapse of America, which is closer than most people realize.
David Smith January 04, 2013 at 07:12 AM
Herman Cain would have given the libs' boy in the White House a good ol' Southern lynching, politically, at least. We would have had the first real black American as our president and a fiscally-conservative one at that. We would have also had a true American who understands finance, business and job-creation, not some "community organizer" hell-bent on destroying the nation.
David V. January 04, 2013 at 07:12 AM
Not fair. It is true that the payroll tax cut -- which reduced taxes from 6.2 to 4.2 percent of income under about $110,000 -- will end this year. And it's a shame, causing poor and middle class people to pay more, as you indicate. But it was the President who proposed the payroll tax cut over the last two years. I think he should have pushed for it again; but the Republicans were against it, and it didn't generate enough Democratic support either. It would have been much better to continue this tax cut and tax those making $250-$450K more.
David Smith January 04, 2013 at 07:17 AM
If you check the finances of the state, the CA Treasury will need a whole lot more than Prop 30 to bail it out of the mess created by Brown and previous governors, Schwarzenegger included. The Dems forever fail to understanding that taxing the state out of debt is a failed option without equal or more cuts in spending.
Naila, sch2 January 04, 2013 at 08:15 AM
The discussion above about the cell phone use in cars just shows how some people are so unaware and ignorant to what's really going on. The events in Italy, Greece concerning their economy will happen here. But people won't believe it till it's here. America has been blessed for so long now, I believe cause our fathers raised this country with Christian values. Now all that is being is OBAMANIZED!.. America better stay with Israel for God will punish her enemies. Our economy and defense for America is at stake here today. Protect your family when the economy crashes. The gangs and bad people will come out to hurt you. They will be upset when they don't get their checks and can't afford gas, food and no jobs. Just saying..
Poleter January 15, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Plate California 5LJD213 near Cerritos is a very aggressive woman driver that could cause accident near the high school area.

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