There's less than a week until the new year, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued a reminder to motorists about new transportation-related laws that will take effect on January 1, 2017.
Assembly Bill 1785 - Electronic Wireless Device Usage
Motorists will soon be prohibited from holding and operating a handheld wireless phone or electronic communications device while driving, unless it is mounted on the vehicle's windshield or affixed to a dashboard or center console in a way that does not hinder the individual's view of the road.
Assembly Bill 53 - Child Safety Seats
Children under two years old must sit in an appropriate rear-facing child passenger restraint system, unless they are more than 40 pounds or taller than 40 inches. This is an extension of Assembly Bill 53, which was signed in 2015.
Assembly Bill 51 - Motorcycle Lane Splitting
The practice as a motorist driving a two-wheeled motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles was legalized in August and goes into effect on January 1. It authorizes the California Highway Patrol to develop educational guidelines on lane splitting to ensure the safety of all motorists. CHP would also have to consult with specified safety agencies and organizations in order to craft the guidelines for motorcycle lane splitting.
Assembly Bill 1289 - Vehicle Safety Recalls
This enacts the Consumer Automatic Recall Safety Act (CARS), which prohibits dealers and rental car companies from loaning or renting a vehicle that is under a manufacturer's recall no later than 48 hours after receiving notice, and until the vehicle is repaired. The DMV will also be required to issue a recall disclosure statement with every vehicle registration renewal notice. The agency will also have the power to suspend or revoke the license of any dealer that violates the CARS Act.
Senate Bill 838 - Vehicle Registration Fee Increase
Beginning April 1, vehicle registration fees on every vehicle or trailer coach rises to $53, which is a $10 increase.
Senate Bill 839 - Environmental License Plate Fee Increase
The fee for the issuance of Environmental License Plates will increase from $43 to $53 beginning July 1. The fee for renewals, retention, transfer or duplications of the personalized environmental plates will increase from $38 to $43 on January 1.
Senate Bill 491 - Accident Reporting
The minimum threshold for property damage that is required to be reported when a driver is involved in a crash goes from $750 to $1,000.