New California Traffic Laws for 2016

By | January 12, 2016

During the 2015 legislative session, Governor Jerry Brown signed several new traffic-related laws, covering everything from hit-and-runs to earbuds, which went into effect as soon as the ball dropped for 2016. Since these laws affect virtually everyone on the road – from motorists to skateboarders – it is important that you familiarize yourself with them. Here are the details below:

AB8: Hit-and-Run Accidents

If an individual has been seriously injured or killed in a hit-and-run accident, and the perpetrator or his/her vehicle has been identified, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) can work in conjunction with local law enforcement to issue so-called Yellow Alerts on digital announcement boards. The idea is that the public would see the information and help law enforcement locate and apprehend the hit-and-run suspect.

AB208: Slow Vehicle on Two-Lane Highways

Any vehicle proceeding upon a 2-lane highway slower than the normal pace of traffic, and consequently causing backed-up traffic of five or more vehicles, must safely pull aside to let traffic pass. This includes bicycles.

AB604: Electric Skateboards

Electric skateboards are now subjected to the following regulations: you must be 16 or older to ride one; helmet usage is required; max speed is 15 mph; and working lights and reflectors are required for night riding.

AB1096: Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles must meet the specifications of their designated class (Class 1, 2 and 3), as defined by this law. Furthermore, modifications that breach class requirements are prohibited unless the classification label also is changed.

SB61: DUI Ignition Interlock Device

This law requires individuals in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicles. This device registers alcohol on the driver’s breath, and can prevent the vehicle from starting based on the result.

SB491: Earbud Use

All motorists and bicyclists are barred from wearing headphones or ear buds in both ears, while driving or bicycling, respectively. This safety measure ensures that motorists can hear what’s going on in their environment (e.g. when an ambulance, firetruck, or other emergency vehicle is approaching from behind).

U.S. Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act

Rental car companies must ground recalled vehicles within 24 hours of receiving the recall notification. If more than 5,000 vehicles in the company’s fleet is affected, then they have 48 hours to ground them.

For more information about the new 2016 traffic laws, visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.

About the Author

Bobby Saadian, Esq. is the Founding President and Managing Attorney at Wilshire Law Firm. Known as the “People’s Lawyer,” he primarily handles major accident and catastrophic injury cases of many varieties, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and wrongful death.

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