Beginning today, Californian motorists will have to adhere to a number of new laws, according to the California Highway Patrol.
"The changes to California's traffic safety laws are designed to protect the motoring public," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. "Citizens are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these new laws in advance of the new year."
The new laws include those that have raised many discussions, including one that now allows drivers to text using hands-free technology.
Going into effect today:
--AB 2020 -- Those arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs will no longer be given a urine test option, in lieu of a blood test.
--AB 45 -- The law prohibits underage drinking in charter-party carriers -- such as limousines, buses, and others -- and makes the carrier and driver responsible for communicating this to passengers. It also requires someone at least 25 to be present whenever passengers younger than 21 are present in the vehicle when alcohol is present. That person will be responsible that the law is upheld.
--AB 1536 -- Drivers are allowed to talk and text while driving using voice-operated, hands-free technology.
--AB 1708 -- Drivers can now provide proof of insurance and registration on an electronic device, when requested by law enforcement.
--AB 2405 -- This law creates the Choose Clean Cars Act, which allows cars with a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker free access to carpool lanes that are converted to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.
--AB 2189 -- Driver's license applicants who can provide satisfactory proof of an authorized presence in the country under federal law, but ineligible for a Social Security number, are now qualified to receive an original driver's license.
--AB 1452 -- Hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers now required to provide and discuss information about child safety seat requirements, installation, and inspection to parents and caregivers upon discharge of a child, if the child is younger than 8.
--AB 1595 and AB 1266 -- Both laws are related to recreational off-highway vehicles. AB 1595 establishes additional requirements for safe operation of these vehicles. The other law, effective July 1, will prohibit passengers in such vehicles from riding in a seat location not designed and provided by the manufacturer. The passenger must also be seated with both feet on the floorboard, and be able to grab the handhold with the seat belt and shoulder belt, or any other harness fastened.
For complete information on all chaptered bills enacted in 2012, visit www.legInfo.ca.gov.
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