New 2017 California Traffic Laws to Make Roads Safer

Motorists in California will need to know about these new transportation laws taking effect next year or on Jan. 1, 2017. According to a press release by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers will have to adhere to stricter laws regarding electronic wireless device usage and motorcycle lane splitting, among other new restrictions.

Electronic devices behind the wheel

Motorists using electronic devices such as cell phones behind the wheel must now have it mounted on a dashboard, windshield or console in a way that does not hinder a driver’s view of the roadway. Additionally, a driver may only use their hands to activate or turn off such a device with a single swipe or tap. This law does not apply to devices that are embedded in the vehicle by the manufacturer. The amendment updates existing laws that state a driver may not use a wireless device to write, send or read a text-bred communication unless they use voice or hands-free features.

Accident Reporting — Senate Bill 491

Under Senate Bill 491, drivers who are involved in a collision must report to the DMV any accident that has property damage above $1,000 beginning next year, up from the current $750 minimum threshold.

Ignition Interlock Devices

A pilot program that required convicted drunk drivers to install a device on their ignition to prevent them from driving under the influence has been extended to four more California counties and by Jan. 1, 2019 it will be a statewide program. The expanded program will affect drivers in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare counties.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting — Assembly Bill 51

The Golden State is the first in the United States to legalize motorcycle lane splitting, under Assembly Bill 51 signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in August. Motorcycle riders may now legally drive in between traffic lanes, but the California Highway Patrol is in the process of developing educational guidelines to make the practice safer.

School Bus Safety — Senate Bill 1072

A new law will require all school buses to have a “child safety alert system” aboard under Senate Bill 1072. Also, schools are required to have transportation safety plans to ensure that students are not left behind on school buses alone.

Vehicle Safety Recalls — Assembly Bill 1289

This bill enacts the Consumer Automatic Recall Safety (CARS) Act. Under this new law, dealerships and car rental companies may not loan or rent a vehicle that is subject to a recall. They have 48 hours notice and the vehicle must be repaired before it can go back on the road again. The DMV will also require a recall disclosure statement be made with each vehicle registration renewal notice. Dealers or rental companies that do not comply will risk the loss of their business license.

Help for Families

The staff at Johnson Attorneys Group provides individuals and families with legal support at the worst possible time in their lives. We understand that a serious traffic accident can cause horrible pain and suffering as well as financial distress. When you are ready to move forward with a claim, our compassionate attorneys are here to help you obtain full compensation for all your losses. We advise you there are time limits to filing a claim and you should wait before you speak to the negligent party’s insurance company until after you have spoken to an attorney. Johnson Attorneys Group offers a free consultation at 800-235-6801. We also work on a contingency-fee basis so you will pay nothing unless a settlement is obtained.



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