BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - With a couple of days left until the new year the California Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding drivers that with the new year will come some new laws as well as changes to existing laws.
Below are the new laws and changes the DMV is rolling out:
Marijuana Use in Vehicles: This law prohibits smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle. The DMV will assign negligent operator point counts for this violation. In addition to the California Driver Handbook, the DMV also will revise the Motorcycle Handbook and the DMV’s website to include information relating to marijuana violations.
Buses and Seatbelts: Beginning July 1, 2018, this law requires a passenger on a bus equipped with seat belts to be properly restrained by a safety belt. This law also prohibits a parent, legal guardian, or chartering party to transport on a bus, or permit to be transported on a bus, a child who is at least 8 years of age but under 16 years of age, unless they are properly restrained by a safety belt or an appropriate child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards.
DUI – Passenger for Hire: Starting July 1, 2018, this law makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense. This will mean that drivers of passenger for hire, in their personal vehicles, will be held to a higher standard of safety while transporting people. The DMV will suspend a person’s driver license if a conviction is added to their record.
Parking Violations for Registration or Driver License Renewal: This law makes changes to a requirement under which vehicle registration renewal and driver license issuance or renewal is not granted for having unpaid parking penalties and fees. The law creates a process for low-income Californians with outstanding parking violations to repay their fines and penalties prior to the parking violation being reported to the DMV. It also allows for someone with outstanding parking penalties and fees, to obtain or renew a driver license.
HOV Decal Program: Beginning January 1, 2019, this law creates a new decal program to allow certain low emission vehicles to access high-occupancy vehicle lanes, regardless of vehicle occupancy level, for a four-year term. Access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes for vehicles with green and white decals will expire January 1, 2019.
Disabled Person Parking Placards and Plates: This law makes changes to the administration of the Disabled Person Parking Placard and Disabled Person License Plate Program, including requiring applicants to provide proof of true full name and date of birth. The law also will limit the number of replacement disabled person parking placards an applicant can request without obtaining a medical certification to four in two years.
Motorcycle Training Courses: This law authorizes the DMV to accept a certificate of satisfactory completion of any motorcyclist-training program approved by the California Highway Patrol in lieu of the required motorcycle skills test. Applicants for an original motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement under 21 years of age continue to be required to complete a novice motorcyclist-training program.
Firefighter License Plate Program for Surviving Family Member: This law allows a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child of a deceased firefighter or deceased retired firefighter to independently apply for and receive a California Firefighter Special License Plate for their vehicle.
Private Carriers of Passengers: Starting July 1, 2018, this law transfers regulatory authority over private carriers of passengers (such as church and youth buses) from the California Public Utilities Commission to the DMV.
Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program: Starting January 1, 2018, the DMV is required to begin collecting at the time of registration or renewal the Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) ranging from $25 - $175, based on the vehicle’s current value. The law also requires the DMV, beginning July 1, 2020, to collect a Road Improvement Fee for zero-emission vehicles with a model year of 2020 or later. The TIF is based on the vehicle’s current market value. Customers with a vehicle renewal notice due on January 1, 2018 and later will include the TIF.