California has a number of new traffic laws that have gone into effect or will go into effect in 2021. A number of these laws are meant to enhance safety for those in vehicles and on roadways. Our California car accident lawyers know the real dangers people face on our roadways because of negligent drivers. We hope that these new laws help make our roadways safer for everyone.
Here are some of the new laws that have become or will become effective this year, according to the California Highway Patrol:
Emergency vehicle safety: Drivers will now be required under the law to slow down or switch lanes when they approach emergency vehicles that are stopped with their lights on such as a tow truck or a Caltrans vehicle. Until now, such slowing was required only on freeways. But, under the new law, motorists will be required to slow down for stopped emergency vehicles on local streets as well. This law is meant to protect first responders and law enforcement officers who may be outside their vehicles responding to emergency situations.
Unattended children: Passersby or good Samaritans will not face civil or criminal liability for damaging vehicles in order to remove unattended children 6 or younger who are in immediate danger due to excessive heat, lack of ventilation or other hazards. This law is meant to protect good Samaritans who act to save children’s lives.
Distracted driving: Beginning July 1, driving while using a handheld cell phone will add a point to the driver’s record. The penalty applies if the violation is the second to occur within 36 months of being convicted of the same offense. Drivers could have their licenses suspended if they get four points within 12 months, six points within 24 months or eight within 36 months, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This law applies to anyone caught talking on the phone or texting while driving without using a hands-free device. Drivers under 18 are prohibited under California law from using any devices while driving.
Emergency vehicle alerts: Emergency vehicles will be allowed to use what is known as a “Hi-Lo” warning sound, which is different from a siren. This would be used to notify people about the need to evacuate an area right away.
Special license plates for veterans: Eligible disabled veterans may now request a disabled-person parking placard if they present certification from the California Department of Veterans Affairs or a county veteran’s services officer.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries damages and losses. An experienced California car accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.