10 New Laws that Affect California Drivers

We are well underway into 2018, and for Californians, this means a slew of new laws that went into effect starting January 1.

Rule of Law You gotta follow the law

In addition to new laws around concealed weapons, an increase in minimum wage, and the legal sale of recreational marijuana, California now has additional laws around vehicles and transportation.

If you’re a California driver, check out our list of the new laws you should be aware of in 2018:

Gender Identity (SB 179, Atkins)

Starting in September, gender identity is no longer required on government documents. This means that people who identify as transgender, intersex or nonconforming can choose a simple gender-neutral option on their birth certificate.This change goes into effect for driver’s licenses in 2019.

Registration and Renewal Fees (SB 1, Beall)

Owners of gasoline or diesel-fueled cars must pay a fee called the Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF), which will go towards road maintenance and rehabilitation. The fee ranges from $25 to $175, and will depend on the vehicle’s current value.

Marijuana usage (SB 65, Hill)

You can be ticketed for smoking or consuming marijuana in any way while driving or riding in a car on California roadways.

Motorcycle Training Courses (AB 1027, Acosta)

Motorcycle training

This law lets the DMV accept a certificate of satisfactory completion of any motorcyclist-training program approved by the California Highway Patrol (this is in lieu of the required motorcycle skills test). However, applicants under 21 years old will still be required to complete a novice motorcyclist-training program.

Drinking and Driving (AB 2687, Achadjian)

Starting in July, rideshare drivers can be cited for driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol content of .04 percent or more (the same as other commercial drivers).

Buckle up on buses (SB 20, Hill)

Buckle up Buckle up on buses

Beginning July 1, you can be fined $20 for not wearing a seatbelt on a commercial bus. (So expect your drivers to start telling you to buckle up). This law also prohibits a parent, legal guardian, or chartering party to transport a child between the ages of 9 and 15 on a bus unless they are properly restrained by a safety belt or an appropriate child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards.

Rideshare driving (SB 182, Bradford)

Drivers for rideshare companies only need a single permit to drive anywhere in California.

Accessibility (SB 611, Hill)

This law will attempt to crack down on misuse of disabled driver placards by:

  • Requiring applicants to provide proof of a true full name and birthdate.
  • Limiting the number of replacement disabled person parking placards an applicant can request without obtaining a medical certification to four in two years.
  • Requiring the DMV to establish a renewal process that requires applicants to return a renewal notice by mail every six years.

Parking Violations and Driver License Registration or Renewal (AB 503, Lackey)

This law makes changes to the requirement that prevents someone from obtaining or renewing their driver's license because of an unpaid parking ticket or fees by:

  • Creating a process for low-income Californians with outstanding parking violations to repay their fines and penalties before the parking violation is reported to the DMV.
  • Allowing the registered owner of a vehicle file for Planned Non-Operation status when unpaid parking penalties are on the vehicle’s record.
  • Allowing anyone with outstanding parking penalties and fees to obtain or renew a drivers license.

Jaywalking (AB 390, Santiago)

Now, you will not be ticketed for stepping into a crosswalk after the flashing signal begins, provided that you can still cross safely before the time runs out.

Krista Doyle
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