NEW DMV LAWS
There are new traffic laws passed almost every year in addition to many changes made to old traffic laws. You will find these laws throughout the reading material as you proceed through the course. However, now, we will briefly discuss the most recent changes to the traffic laws and the reasons behind them.
There are currently more than 6,000 drivers 19 years and younger who are licensed to ride a motorcycle in California.
The popularity of motorcycles is attributed to the low initial cost, its use as a pleasure vehicle, the good fuel efficiency, and let’s face it they’re just fun to drive and ride. However, motorcycle fatalities represent approximately five percent of all highway fatalities each year, yet motorcycles represent just two percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in collisions is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. For example, approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in America between the ages of 15-20 years old and they are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. Some of the causes that can be attributed to motorcycle crashes are:
- lack of basic riding skills
- failure to appreciate the inherent operating characteristics
- failure to appreciate the limitations of the motorcycle
- failure to use special precautions while riding
- failure to use defensive driving techniques.
- lack of specific braking and cornering skills
- failure to follow speed limit
The change in this law is to help reduce collisions and save lives. Attending a motorcycle rider training safety course is the best way to learn how to operate a motorcycle safely and skillfully. Rider training safety classes provide unique knowledge and skills that one may not learn if a friend teaches them how to ride. The goal is to arm California’s youth with enough knowledge to make smart driving decisions.
High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
(VC 5205.5 and 21655.9) – Prior law that permitted certain fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles to display stickers allowing them to be operated in HOV lanes with a single occupant was to expire on January 1, 2011. The new law extended the “sunset” date for the yellow stickers for hybrid vehicles until July 1, 2011; the white stickers issued to fully-electric and compressed natural gas vehicles until January 1, 2015; and created a third sticker, for plug-in hybrid vehicles, to be issued and valid from January 1, 2012 until January 1, 2015.
California Senator Leland Yee, said the goal of extending hybrid HOV access for an additional six months was to give California hybrid owners time to purchase the electric cars and plug-in hybrids that were coming to the market. Some legislators opposed the bill, saying that HOV lane access should be strictly preserved to carpools, regardless of the desire to encourage adoption of green car technology. To alleviate concerns about highway congestion from solo green car drivers, SB 353 places a cap of 40,000 on the number of Enhanced AT-PZEV plug-in hybrids that will receive HOV stickers. There is currently no limit set for the number of all-electric, or Zero Emission Vehicles that can receive white HOV access stickers.
New Firefighter Endorsement
(VC 12804.11) – In an effort to simplify the proper licensing of firefighters while continuing to ensure public safety, this law exempts operators of firefighting vehicles from the Commercial Driver License program and creates a new license endorsement process.
This bill addressed a problem that had reportedly grounded many firefighters in rural areas. It removed a bureaucratic barrier at the DMV that made it very difficult for rural fire departments to license their firefighters to drive heavy equipment. There were situations where firefighters could not respond to fires because they were not licensed to drive fire engines. Rural fire departments had to send two firefighters sometimes hundreds of miles on a round trip to a DMV office and take a vital piece of equipment out of service for an entire day just to license one firefighter. This law allows firefighters who already possess a Class C license to earn a “Firefighter Endorsement” that authorizes them to drive fire equipment after completing 30 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training under supervision of a qualified fire chief. To complete the process, firefighters will still have to submit to the DMV their health questionnaires and written documentation from the fire chiefs who trained them and pass a written test, but it eliminates the requirement of having an already licensed firefighter to also travel to a distant DMV office. It put too many rural communities at risk to have personnel and equipment taken out of service for an entire day, especially during fire season.
NEW LAWS EFFECTIVE AS OF JULY 1 AND BEYOND.
Local Traffic Ordinances (VC 21 & 21100) – As of July 1, in an effort of ensuring that traffic convictions are recorded by the Department of Motor Vehicles, local authorities may not enact or enforce a local ordinance on any matter covered by the California Vehicle Code.
The intent of this law is to ensure that drivers throughout the state of California will be treated uniformly for moving violations. Motorists statewide would be safer and better protected from unfair ticketing practices for example. Cities are no longer allowed to circumvent existing state law by citing motorists under newly written, local municipal codes. Under this law, this new trend by local governments to write their own vehicle codes to cite motorists for moving violations would stop.
Driving Under the Influence
(VC 23597) – Effective January 1, 2012, this bill authorizes a court to order a 10-year revocation of the driver license of a person convicted of a third or subsequent DUI violation, with possible reinstatement after five years if specified conditions are met.
To find out about more traffic laws, please register for our course, ComedyTrafficSchool.com.