New Year Brings New Laws for California Motorists

speeding carIn an effort to ring in the safest New Year possible, legislators have announced several traffic laws that go into effect in California, beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

The new laws, which were signed by Governor Jerry Brown during the 2015 legislative session, are designed to address numerous concerns regarding hit-and-run fatalities,  drunk driving accidents, and new motorized modes of transportation that have become increasingly popular among California residents.

California motorists need to familiarize themselves with the following new traffic rules:

A Yellow Alert for Suspected Hit-and-Run Drivers. A new type of emergency notification called a Yellow Alert will alert motorists of a suspected hit-and-run driver whose actions resulted in death or serious injury to another motorist.

Much like an Amber Alert, Yellow Alert information will be displayed on local TV stations and electronic message boards along California freeways. Yellow Alert information will also be sent via text message to local cellphone numbers.

The Yellow Alert will include all available information pertaining to a recent hit-and-run incident, such as the description of the hit-and-run vehicle, a description of the driver, and a license plate number, if applicable.

A Silver Alert for Missing Senior Citizens. When a vehicle is involved in a missing person incident, particularly if the missing person is an elderly individual, a Silver Alert notification will appear on message signs along California freeways.

The notification will include the make, model, year and color of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle’s license plate number. If a senior citizen is believed to be in danger, or if they are no longer able to drive, yet get behind the wheel of a vehicle, a Silver Alert may be activated.

Ignition Interlock Devices for all Drunk Drivers. After a successful trial run in 2015, legislators agreed to put a new law into effect regarding motorists who drive while under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

All drivers convicted of a DUI, even first-time offenders, must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. The device measures the amount of alcohol present in a driver’s system by analyzing their breath. If an illegal amount of alcohol is detected, the device will prevent the vehicle from starting.

According to the California State Highway Patrol, this new law will affect Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare counties.

Slow Moving Vehicles and Bicyclists Pass Allowance. This new law will require slow-moving vehicles and bicycles to safely pull off the side of the road and allow vehicles to pass if five or more are backed-up behind them.

Speed Limit for Hoverboards. All the rage in 2015, hoverboards are now recognized by California as an official form of motorized transportation. Hoverboards are wheeled, skateboard-like, motorized devices that, according to the new law, are not permitted to go faster than 15 mph, and are only permitted on designated bikeways, or roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

Additionally, the new law states that all hoverboard riders must be at least 16 years of age, must wear a helmet, and are not permitted to operate the hoverboard while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Earbuds or Headsets Ban. Under this new law, anyone operating a vehicle is prohibited from wearing earphones that cover, rest on, or are inserted in, both ears.

At the Arnold Law Firm, we firmly believe in protecting the rights of California motorists who were victimized by another driver’s blatant disregard of traffic laws. If you have been injured due to another driver’s negligence, contact the experienced Sacramento car accident lawyers at Arnold Law Firm today.

Call (916) 777-7777 today.