California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel has passed along to Patch a rundown of new California motoring laws that will affect many of us in 2012.
These new traffic laws were passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor before 2011 came to a close. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) wants to familiarize the motoring public with the changes taking place.
“Our hope is by educating the public of these new traffic safety laws in advance, more lives will be saved in the new year,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.
According to the CHP, the following laws are highlights of a few of the significant changes for the upcoming year:
- A change to California’s Child Passenger Safety Seat law will now require children to ride in either a car seat or booster seat until the age of eight, or until they reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches. This law also requires children who do not meet the age or height requirement to ride in the rear seat of a vehicle unless the vehicle has no back seats, the restraint system cannot be properly installed or the rear seats are already occupied by children under age eight. However, the law still maintains that a child may not ride in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger airbag if they are under one year of age, less than 20 pounds, or riding in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- Drivers are required to stop and submit to a sobriety checkpoint. However, peace officers will be prohibited from impounding a vehicle for 30 days out of a sobriety checkpoint if the only offense by the driver is failing to hold a valid driver license. The new law requires that the officer make a reasonable attempt to identify the registered owner in order to release the vehicle.
- Anyone who is convicted of reckless driving can apply for a restricted driver license prior to the completion of their one-year suspension, provided they meet specified conditions, including the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle.
- Vehicles will be prohibited from crossing double parallel solid white lines except where permitted.
- A segment of Vasco Road between I-580 in Alameda County and Walnut Boulevard in Contra Costa County has been re-designated as a double fine zone until January 1, 2017.
- Electric Vehicles (EV) must now be plugged in for refueling when occupying an EVdesignated parking space, otherwise they may be towed. In addition, the law prohibits a person from obstructing, blocking, or otherwise barring access to an EV-designated parking space.
- Local governments can now regulate advertising signs on any motor vehicle parked or left standing upon a public street, except for signs painted directly upon or permanently affixed to the vehicle for permanent decoration, identification, or display that do not extend beyond the overall length, width, or height of the vehicle.
- Licensed livestock carriers can continue to travel on Highway 101 within the counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino from its junction with Highway 1 near Leggett, north to the Oregon border until January 1, 2015.
- A law dealing with repeat driving under the influence (DUI) offenders that was passed in 2010 also goes into effect on January 1: Section 23579 was added to the Vehicle Code, which authorizes courts to revoke a driver’s license for 10 years if a person is convicted of three or more DUIs. Under this law, a motorist may be allowed to apply for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after five years, if the person installs an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle. The law allows the DMV to terminate this restricted license if the IID requirements are not met.
The points above are only a synopsis of many new Callifornia new laws adopted for 2012. For complete information on chaptered bills enacted in, Montiel suggests readers take a look at the Legislative Counsel website.