We’re almost at the end of 2015. With the New Year come several new traffic-related laws in California covering everything from drunk driving, hit-and-run and electronically motorized boards. These were all bills that were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown during the 2015 legislative session. The following five key laws that will take effect on January 1, 2016 are likely to affect motorists and bicyclists in California.
- Hit-and-Run Alert System: Starting January 1, a Yellow Alert notification system will be established for hit-and-run incidents that result in injury or death. These will work much like Amber Alerts following child abductions. California Highway Patrol officials will work with local law enforcement to determine when the system should be activated.
- Drunk Drivers: A new law for 2016 grants a one-year extension to a pilot project in which a person convicted of drink driving may be required to install an ignition interlock device to their vehicle. These are devices that register alcohol on the driver’s breath and can prevent the vehicle from starting based on the breath test results. The counties affected by this new law are Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento, and Tulare.
- Use of Highway Lanes: A law requiring slow-moving passenger vehicles to safely pull over and let traffic pass will expand and apply to bicyclists come January 1. The law requires slow-moving cars and bicycles to use the next available turnout or other area to let vehicles pass if five or more are backed-up behind them.
- Motorized Boards: Electronically motorized boards will be able to go nor more than 15 mph and will be limited to roadways that have a speed limit of 35 mph or less. The rider of such boards, which include the popular so-called hoverboards, must be at least 16 and would be required to wear a helmet. Riders should not operate these boards under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, under this law.
- Headsets or earbuds: A provision in Senate Bill No. 491 prohibits anyone operating a vehicle from wearing earphones that cover, rest on, or are inserted in, both ears. Prior laws barred motorists and bicyclists from wearing ear plugs in both ears or from wearing a headset.
The personal injury attorneys at Bisnar Chase wish all Californians a happy, healthy and safe 2016!