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Gearing Up: New Driving Laws in California

Personal InjuryPersonal Injury Attorney



by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230


There are new laws aimed at protecting all on our state's roadways, whether they are bicyclists, pedestrians or other motor vehicle operators and passengers.

Much of this legislation is aimed at cracking down on obvious wrong-doers, such as DUI offenders, people who text while driving, and hit-and-run drivers. But a couple laws will affect the rest of us as well.  Here are the new laws for California drivers:


Assembly Bill 266: High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes

Have a low, or zero-emission vehicle? Congratulations – if you have a valid sticker from the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can continue to use the HOV lanes until 2019 (formerly 2015), or until federal authorization expires or the Secretary of State receives a specified notice, whichever comes first.


Assembly Bill 535: Emergency Alert System (Amber Alerts)

Law enforcement can now issue an Amber Alert when a child has been abducted by anyone, including a custodial parent or guardian, where law enforcement reasonably believes that the life or physical health of the child is in danger.


Senate Bill 194: Texting While Driving

Driving While Distracted (DWD) is a growing problem. SB 194 is aimed at cutting back DWD accidents caused by teens – one of the largest age groups guilty of this behavior.

Current law prohibits all drivers from using a cell phone while driving, unless it is a hands free device. This bill prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using any wireless device, including phones, while driving.


Assembly Bill 1371: Passing Bicyclists

This is the Three Feet for Safety Act, which requires drivers passing someone on a bicycle to keep three feet away from the cyclist. Failure to maintain three feet of space between an automobile and bicycle while passing results in a $35 fine for the motor vehicle operator, or $220 if that failure results in a collision. This law goes into effect on September 16, 2014.


Assembly Bill 184: Statute of Limitations for Hit and Run Accidents

AB 184 amends Penal Code Section 803, potentially doubling the statute of limitations for hit-and-run accidents to six years from the date of any crash that causes serious, permanent injuries or death, subject to all other requirements set forth in AB 184. Before AB 184 the statute of limitations was three years maximum.


Senate Bill 717: DUI Search Warrants

This bill amends Penal Code section 1524. Drivers suspected of Driving Under the Influence who refuse a blood test can be served a search warrant to draw blood in a “reasonable, medically approved manner.” This bill was considered an urgency statute and actually went into effect last September.


Andrew L. Shapiro is the Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him via email: or phone: (818) 907-3230.



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