New Laws to Know on the Road 

New Laws to Know on the Road


As people throughout California rang in 2017, the state ushered in a set of new laws.
These included vehicle safety laws regarding child safety seats, lane splitting, and more. The Auto Club’s guide offers a breakdown of the new vehicle safety laws, which both drivers and passengers should be aware of.

Child Safety Seats (AB 53)

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Passengers who are younger than 2 must ride in a rear-facing safety seat. However, children who are taller than 40 inches or who weigh more than 40 pounds are exempt. This law aligns with a recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatricians.

Handheld Wireless Devices (AB 1785)

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A driver can only use a handheld device if it is mounted on their vehicle’s dashboard, center console, or the lower corner of their windshield. Additionally, drivers can only operate mounted devices with one finger using a single swipe or tap.

Lane Splitting (AB 51)

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The California Highway Patrol is authorized to develop guidelines for lane splitting, with the goal of improving overall road safety and reducing crashes related to lane splitting. California is the only state that allows lane splitting, which is when a motorcyclist drives between traffic lanes and other vehicles.

Reporting Crashes (SB 491)

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Motorists are required to file an SR-1 form with the DMV to report any crash that results in property damage exceeding $1,000, an injury, or death. SB 491 increases the threshold amount for crashes that must be reported; it was previously $750.

More Changes in the Years Ahead


A handful of other motor-related laws were recently passed but will not take effect in 2017. Here’s a look at what other laws will be coming up in the next few years:

Rideshare Drivers (AB 2687): Drivers for rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, will be subjected to a blood alcohol content limit of 0.04 percent when they are transporting a paying passenger. Effective: July 1, 2018

Temporary License Plates (AB 516): The DMV must develop a system for car dealers to electronically report vehicle sales to the DMV before the vehicle is delivered to the buyer, and to issue temporary license plates for all vehicles sold in California that do not have a license plate. Dealers must attach temporary license plates when vehicles are sold, and owners will have a 14-day grace period to install permanent plates after the DMV issues them. Effective: January 1, 2019

Drunken Driving (SB 1046): Most DUI alcohol offenders who are involved in a crash that results in an injury will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for six to 48 months before their full license can be reinstated. Effective: January 1, 2019