Skip to main content

7 New California DMV Laws You Need To Know

If you drive a motor vehicle in California, you’ll want to know about these 7 new highway safety and traffic laws that go into effect in 2014. Make sure you’re aware of these changes and the impact they may have on how you drive.

1. Bicycles: Passing Distance – Watch Your Distance
AB 1371, known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, requires drivers passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction to pass with no less than 3 feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle or driver.

When three feet is not possible, the motor vehicle must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and only pass when no danger is present to the bicyclist. Failure to do so can result in a fine, whether or not a collision occurred. This law will take effect September 16, 2014.

2. Clean Air Vehicle Decals / “HOV Stickers” – Clean Air Perks
AB 266 and SB 286, together extend the end dates for low emission, zero emission vehicles to operate in high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) without meeting federal occupancy requirements to January 1, 2019.

3. Commercial Driver’s License – A Weighty Issue
AB 1047 allows the DMV to conduct the commercial drive test for the holder of an out–of–state commercial learner’s permit.

AB 1047 also revises the license class definitions to require a driver operating a bus weighing more than 26,000 pounds to hold a commercial Class B license and a driver operating a bus weighing 26,000 pounds or less to hold a commercial Class C license.

4. DMV Vehicle Registration Pilot Program
SB 806 authorizes the DMV to establish a pilot program to evaluate the use of alternatives to stickers, tabs, license plates, and registration cards, subject to certain requirements. It also allows the DMV to experiment with electronic license plates, as well as help the DMV to investigate cost–effective alternatives to California’s traditional metal license plate, plastic–coated registration stickers, and paper registration cards.

5. Registration and Vehicle Transfers Between Family Members – No Fines, No Problems
AB 443 prohibits transferring vehicle ownership to a relative or a revocable living trust until all parking or toll–violation fines and penalties reported to the DMV are paid by the transferee.

6. Teen Drivers – Cell Phone Spoiler Alert
SB 194 prohibits a person who is under 18 years of age from using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text–based communication while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands–free device.

7. Veterans License Plates – Honoring Those Who Served
AB 244 requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to sponsor a veterans’ special interest license plate (available to all vehicle owners) and requires the DMV to issue the veterans’ plate if CalVet meets the current legal requirements. Implementation of this program requires that the Department of Veterans Affairs have 7,500 pre–paid applications in place.

In addition to the current Honoring Veterans design of the Veteran’s Organization Plate, this law creates a new program to reissue the Veteran design that was issued prior to January 1, 2010.

What do you think about these new laws? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Ready to Get a Quick Quote?