New Road Laws for 2019 in California


Several new road laws will take effect on January 1, 2019 and they are designed to make California roads safer. Here’s a look at the news laws and changes that will be made:

DUIs
Starting January 1, 2019 until January 1, 2026, repeat DUI offenders and first time DUI offenders whose violations have caused injury must install an ignition interlock device for anywhere from 12 to 48 months. The law allows anyone who receives a suspension to get a device and receive credit toward the required device restriction period if they’re later convicted of a DUI.

The restrictions apply to DUI violations that involve alcohol or alcohol and drug combinations. Courts also have the chance to order first-time DUI offenders who didn’t cause injury to install a device for up to six months. If the device is not court-ordered for the first-time offender, then they have the option to apply for a license and get a device requiring them to drive to work and to and from a DUI treatment program for 12 months.

Temporary license plates
Licensed California dealers of new and used vehicles must attach temporary license plates to a vehicle once it’s sold if the vehicle doesn’t have any previous DMV-issued plates. The temporary plates have a unique number and expiration date, and vehicles cannot be driving off a dealership lot without the temporary plates.

Carpool lanes
Assembly Bill 544 created a new program that allowed low-emission and transitional zero-emission vehicles access to carpool lanes for a four-year period regardless of how many people were in the vehicle. A green or white decal that was placed on those vehicles is valid until Jan. 1, 2019, and after that those vehicles will no longer have access to HOV lanes.

But any vehicle that has a green or white decal that was issued between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018 can apply for a red decal that allows access in carpool lanes until Jan. 1, 2022. The DMV should have notified customers of that eligibility by mail.

The department will also issue light purple decals in 2019 that will give people access to HOV lanes until Jan. 1, 2023. Those decals are available to people who have not applied for or received a consumer rebate for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project unless they meet annual income requirements.

Smog check changes
Vehicles that are eight model years old are now exempt from requiring a smog check compared to the previous law that exempted vehicles at six years. But vehicles that have those additional two years of exemption will have to pay a $25 yearly smog abatement fee. Also, the current $20 smog abatement fee for the first six years of exemption remains unchanged.

Driving for minors
The law repeals a juvenile court’s authority to suspend, restrict or delay the issuance of a drivers license of a habitual truant or ward of the state for up to one year. The law clarifies that any suspensions or delays reported prior to January 1, 2019, remain in effect.

Helmet restrictions
If you’re under 18 and not wearing a helmet on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or skates then you might get a fix-it ticket. That citation can be fixed within 120 days of receiving it if the minor shows the law enforcement agency that they’ve completed a bicycle safety course and have a helmet that meets safety standards.

But anyone age 18 or over is no longer required to wear a bicycle helmet on motorized scooters.

Unsafe, unsecured loads on vehicles
The law requires the DMV to include at least one question addressing laws on driving with an unsafe, unsecured load in at least 20 percent of the knowledge tests.

The DMV is also reminding drivers of low-emission and transitional zero-emission vehicles that their green or white decals granting them access to HOV lanes expires January 1, 2019. Vehicles issued a green or white decal between January 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018 are eligible to apply for a red decal that grants them access to HOV lanes through January 1, 2022. The DMV plans to issue light purple decals in 2019 that will grant access to HOV lanes through January 1, 2023. Those eligible include drivers who haven’t applied for or received a consumer rebate pursuant to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, unless they meet annual income requirements.

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