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New Driving Laws Take Effect Jan. 1

It will be legal to send and receive text messages with hands-free devices powered by voice-operated software. The new year brings new driving regulations to the Golden State.

For most of us, it's been a long time since we were forced to take a driving test — written or behind the wheel. And while we like to believe we are still competent in the driver's seat, a lot has changed since the time we were issued a license.

Every year, new driving laws go into effect. Jan. 1, 2013 will bring a new set of regulations that are important to know.

“The changes to California’s traffic safety laws are designed to protect the motoring public,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.  “Citizens are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these new laws in advance of the new year. Adhering to the rules of the road may save your life, or the lives of your fellow motorists.”

The following is a list of updates to California laws that all drivers should take into account. 

  • AB 2020: A person arrested for suspected DUI will no longer be given the option of a urine test. In previous years, the option was given of either a urine test of a blood test.
  • AB 45: Bus and limousine drivers will be held responsible for telling all underage passengers that drinking alcohol is illegal. If alcohol is being transported in a bus or limousine with underage passengers on board, a person at least 25-years-old must be on board to ensure there is no underage consumption.
  • AB 1536: It will be legal to send and receive text messages with hands-free devices powered by voice-operated software. 
  • AB 1708: Drivers will have the right to show proof of insurance and registration on a smartphone or tablet when pulled over. 
  • AB 2405: Cars with Clean Air Vehicle stickers will be allowed to use High Occupancy Toll lanes. 
  • SB 1298: Self-driving cars will be allowed on public roads for testing purposes as long as a licensed driver is in the driver's seat. 
  • SB 1047: CHP will begin a Silver Alert system similar to Amber Alert, but for missing people over 65-years-old.

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