Local News

New year brings new rules for the road

By From page A4 | December 26, 2013

With 2014 just around the corner, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding motorists of some of the new laws that will become effective in the new year. The following laws go into effect on Jan. 1, unless otherwise noted.

Bicycles: Passing Distance. AB 1371 (Bradford), known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, will require a motor vehicle driver passing a bicyclist who is proceeding in the same direction to leave at least three feet of clearance. When three feet is not possible, the vehicle must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and pass only when no danger is present to the bicyclist. Failing to do so can incur a fine, regardless of a collision. This law will take effect Sept. 16.

Teen Drivers. SB 194 (Galgiani) will prohibit a person who is under 18 years of age from using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device.

Clean Air Vehicle Decals/“HOV Stickers.” AB 266 (Yee) and SB 286 (Blumefield), together extend sunset dates to Jan. 1, 2019, for low-emission, zero-emission vehicles to operate in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes without meeting occupancy requirements.

DMV Vehicle Registration Pilot Program. SB 806 (Hueso) authorizes the DMV to establish a pilot program to evaluate the use of alternatives to stickers, tabs, license plates and registration cards, subject to certain requirements. It also will enable the DMV to experiment with electronic license plates, as well as facilitate the department’s ability to explore cost-effective alternatives to California’s traditional metal license plate, plastic-coated registration stickers and paper registration cards.

Registration and Vehicle Transfers Between Family Members. AB 443 (Lowenthal) prohibits the transfer of ownership of a vehicle to a relative or a revocable living trust until all parking or toll-violation fines and penalties reported to the DMV are paid by the transferee.

Veterans License Plates. AB 244 (Bonilla) Requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to sponsor a veterans’ special interest license plate and requires the DMV to issue the veterans’ plate if CalVet meets the current statutory requirements.

This law creates, in addition to the current Honoring Veterans design of the Veteran’s Organization Plate, a new program to reissue the veteran design that was issued prior to Jan. 1, 2010. These plates are available to all vehicle owners. The Department of Veterans Affairs must secure 7,500 pre-paid applications in order for the department to implement this plate program.

Commercial Driver’s License. AB 1047 (Linder) will allow the DMV to conduct the commercial drive test for the holder of an out-of-state commercial learner’s permit. The department would electronically transfer the information to the motor vehicle department in the applicant’s state of residence.

AB 1047 also modifies the license class definitions to require a driver operating a bus weighing more than 26,000 pounds to hold a commercial Class B license and a driver operating a bus weighing 26,000 pounds or less to hold a commercial Class C license.

Special to The Enterprise

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