New California Driving Laws Start Jan. 1

The new year brings new driving regulations to the Golden State.


For most of us, it's been a long time since we were forced to take a driving test — written or behind the wheel. And while we like to believe we are still competent in the driver's seat, a lot has changed since the time we were issued a license.

Every year, new driving laws go into effect. Jan. 1, 2013 will bring a new set of regulations that are important to know.

“The changes to California’s traffic safety laws are designed to protect the motoring public,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.  “Citizens are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these new laws in advance of the new year. Adhering to the rules of the road may save your life, or the lives of your fellow motorists.”

The following is a list of updates to California laws that all drivers should take into account. 

  • AB 2020: A person arrested for suspected DUI will no longer be given the option of a urine test. In previous years, the option was given of either a urine test of a blood test.
  • AB 45: Bus and limousine drivers will be held responsible for telling all underage passengers that drinking alcohol is illegal. If alcohol is being transported in a bus or limousine with underage passengers on board, a person at least 25-years-old must be on board to ensure there is no underage consumption.
  • AB 1536: It will be legal to send and receive text messages with hands-free devices powered by voice-operated software. 
  • AB 1708: Drivers will have the right to show proof of insurance and registration on a smartphone or tablet when pulled over. 
  • AB 2405: Cars with Clean Air Vehicle stickers will be allowed to use High Occupancy Toll lanes. 
  • SB 1298: Self-driving cars will be allowed on public roads for testing purposes as long as a licensed driver is in the driver's seat. 
  • SB 1047: CHP will begin a Silver Alert system similar to Amber Alert, but for missing people over 65 years old. 

What do you think of the new laws? What law would you add to make our roads safer? Tell us in the comments!


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Peter Cook December 29, 2012 at 07:57 PM
What a ******** waste of time for all of these. How about stiffer penalties for attempting to mow people down in the crosswalk on N. Santa Cruz and Main St ?
Phillip Salfen December 30, 2012 at 01:22 AM
AB 2020, thumbs up. Roll up your sleeve Bozo! AB 45, questionable, Awesome for the prom "chaperone" though! AB 1536, questionable, Have the "law makers" SEEN any hands free texts? AB 1708, questionable, do they REALLY think documentation can't be faked? AB 2405, Have to throw the Brown Flag on this one! One person does not a "car pool" make. SB 1298, What The Fudge? It's only a matter of time. SB 1047, thumbs up on this one. But, there are plenty of, under 65, "Patch" contributors that seem to have alzheimer's. Maybe the age should be dropped, or gender oriented. Peter, That's what a briefcase, umbrella, cane or boot is for. Since you can't carry a gun.
KMD December 31, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Wouldn't it be awesome if we started removing laws at the beginning of each year instead of adding them? Maybe we should have a reduction in politicians too.


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