Besides laws that affect Californians in general, 2014 will also see some changes for traffic laws. A recent article by the California Highway Patrol gives details about these changes in the law and how they will affect motorists in the coming year and beyond. Most of these laws go into effect on January 1, 2014.
- AMBER Alert Expansion. Law enforcement is now required to request activation of an AMBER alert any time a report is received that a child has been abducted by a parent or guardian who poses a threat of serious physical injury to the child.
- Bicycle passing distance. Motorists are required to slow down to a prudent speed when passing a cyclist and to give three feet of room whenever possible or face a fine, even if no collision occurs. This law will take effect September 16, 2014.
- Limousines and emergency exits. As of January 1, 2016, all limousines that have been modified to accommodate more passengers must have two operational rear doors and removable emergency windows. All limos manufactured after January 1, 2015 must meet these requirements without modification.
- HOV Lanes. Until January 1, 2019, low-emission and zero-emission vehicles must be allowed to continue to operate in HOV lanes without meeting occupancy requirements.
- Hit-and-run statute of limitations. This law extends the statute of limitations for hit-and-runs that result in serious injury or death to one year after the driver is identified by law enforcement or up to six years after the offense.
- Registration fees. New fee increases of $1 for passenger vehicles and $2 for commercial vehicles will fund anti-vehicle-theft programs in counties throughout the state.
- Chemical tests and search warrants. Since September 20, 2013, a search warrant can be issued that allows an officer to take blood from a person who refuses if that person is reasonably accused of DUI.
- Teen drivers and texting. A person under 18 is prohibited from texting, reading, or sending messages on an electronic device, even if the device is hands-free, while driving.
These traffic laws will impact both drivers and those who are victims of car accidents in California. A person who has suffered injury or lost a loved one as a result of another person’s negligence should contact a personal injury attorney immediately.