New traffic laws in California take effect on Jan. 1, 2024 | Inquirer
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ready to hit the road in 2024? Here are new California traffic laws you should know about

Under new state laws, 6 cities – San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, Glendale, Long Beach and San Francisco – will be allowed to install cameras to catch speeding drivers
/ 06:06 PM December 28, 2023

Sacramento – New traffic laws that will affect California’s 27 million drivers will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

Some of the laws signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this year will implement programs to address pedestrian safety.

A pilot program will allow installation of cameras to monitor speeding in six cities – San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, Glendale, Long Beach and San Francisco – on streets where there are safety concerns.

Here are the new laws that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) wants drivers to know about.

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Advancing modernization and customer Service 

Driver’s License renewal alternatives – AB 1606 (Gipson)

This law authorizes the DMV director to establish a program allowing drivers 70 and older to complete certain driver’s license renewal requirements, such as vision and knowledge tests, remotely.

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Drivers 80 and older would still be required to renew in person at the DMV. The law is intended to provide older drivers with alternatives to visiting a DMV office, while increasing customer convenience and reducing the number of visits to DMV offices.

Making our roads and communities safer

Woman on the driver's seat of car

New traffic laws that will affect California’s 27 million drivers will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. FILE PHOTO

Speed Camera Pilot Program – AB 645 (Friedman)

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This new law establishes a five-year pilot program allowing local transportation authorities in San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, Glendale, Long Beach and San Francisco to install a limited number of speed cameras on local streets where there are safety concerns.

The cameras will automatically take a picture of a speeding car’s license plate and deliver a notice of violation to the registered owner through the mail. The law is intended to reduce speeding, traffic collisions, serious injuries and fatalities.

Improved visibility at crosswalks and intersections – AB 413 (Lee)

This law prohibits a person from parking a vehicle within 20 feet of either side of any marked or unmarked crosswalk, or within 15 feet of any crosswalk where a curb extension is present.

It permits local governments to allow parking for bicycles or motorized scooters within 20 feet of a crosswalk. The law is intended to increase visibility for all road users to see oncoming traffic by removing parked cars near crosswalks and intersections, a safety measure known as “daylighting.”

Crackdown on catalytic converter theft

SB 55 (Umberg); AB 641 (Fong); AB 1519 (Bains)

These new laws are intended to help combat the theft of catalytic converters and keep Californians and their cars safer. SB 55 will make it illegal to remove or alter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) from a catalytic converter. People will also be barred from knowingly possessing three or more catalytic converters with altered VINs.

AB 641 makes it a misdemeanor for a person to possess nine or more used catalytic converters that have been cut from a vehicle, with some exceptions. AB 1519 makes it a misdemeanor to remove or alter VINs on a catalytic converter.

Honoring first responders

California Firefighter Memorial restoration – SB 374 (Ashby)
The law increases the revenue available to the California Fire Foundation by raising firefighter specialty license plate renewal fees from $35 to $40. This ensures the state can adequately honor fallen firefighters.

The foundation plans to use additional revenues generated by this fee change to enhance support for the foundation’s work, including providing resources for renovating the California Firefighters’ Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Sacramento.

Promoting equity

Verifying registration before removing a vehicle – AB 925 (Ta)

This law requires traffic enforcement officers to verify the lack of current vehicle registration with the DMV before towing a vehicle for expired registration longer than six months. It prohibits the vehicle from being towed if the officer does not have immediate access to those records.

The law is intended to avoid unnecessary towing of vehicles that are registered but do not have current registration tags on the license plate. This will prevent additional hardship for people who may not have the money to retrieve their vehicle from an impound lot.

Driver’s Licenses can no longer be impounded for not paying fines – AB 1125 (Hart)

This repeals existing law authorizing courts to impound a person’s driver’s license and order the person not to drive for 30 days if they fail to make an agreed-upon installment payments for bail or a fine. The law is intended to reduce hardship for low-income motorists who need to drive to work or access essential services.

Traffic School non-attendance – AB 466 (Gipson)

This new law removes provisions making the failure to attend traffic violator school a misdemeanor. It clarifies that the failure to attend traffic violator school is not punishable as a new offense. 

ID Card Pilot Program for San Diego County inmates – AB 1329 (Maienschein)

This law authorizes the DMV and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to implement a pilot program to provide eligible inmates a valid identification card or driver’s license when they are released from a county detention facility. The law is intended to expand on the progress of the Cal-ID program, which streamlines access to support services, such as medical, housing and right-to-work documents upon release.

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TAGS: California law, law enforcement, road safety
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