The new year has begun and the California Department of Motor Vehicles would like to inform and remind drivers that new laws are in full effect as of January 1, 2011. The public must adhere to them throughout the year (and beyond), and law enforcement personnel will regulate these laws as necessary.
The new year has begun and the California Department of Motor Vehicles would like to inform and remind drivers that several new laws are now in full effect. The public must adhere to them throughout the year (and beyond), and law enforcement personnel will regulate these laws as necessary.
Details of these new laws are as follows:
Motorcycle Instruction Permit
Currently, more than 6,000 drivers 19 years of age and younger are licensed to ride a motorcycle in California. As of January 1, 2011, the new law requires any person younger than 21 years of age to complete an approved motorcycle safety course before being issued an instruction permit required to practice operating a motorcycle. The law also requires the permit to be held by an individual for six months before they will be issued a class M motorcycle driver license.
Traffic Violator School Program
New for 2011, the DMV will bring court-approved courses, such as online and home study traffic schools, into the DMV Traffic Violator School licensing program and will implement a number of recommendations included in a DMV study of traffic violator school issues. This law will have a three-year implementation process.
High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
The new law extends the "sunset" date for the yellow stickers for hybrid vehicles until July 1, 2011 and the white stickers issued to fully-electric and compressed natural gas vehicles until January 1, 2015. The law creates a third sticker to be issued to plug-in hybrid vehicles, valid from January 1, 2012 until January 1, 2015. These stickers (originally set to expire January 1, 2011) permit certain fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles to be operated in HOV lanes with a single occupant.
New Firefighter Endorsement
A new license endorsement process was created to simplify the proper licensing of firefighters while continuing to ensure public safety. Prior to this law, firefighters were required to obtain a Commercial Driver License.
Effective July 1, in an effort to increase the number of enrollees in the organ donor program, driver license applicants will be required to answer the organ donor registration section of their applications with a yes or no response.
Local Traffic Ordinances
In an effort to ensure that the Department of Motor Vehicles records traffic convictions, local authorities may not enact or enforce a local ordinance as of July 1 on any matter that the California Vehicle Code covers.
In anticipation of next year, a new bill, which will become effective January 1, 2012, 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.
These new and revised laws were created to better serve and protect California residents. For additional information on these and other driving laws, please visit www.DMV.ca.gov.