Some new traffic laws take effect as of the new year, among those is the now-permanent Move Over law. Effective January 1, if driving on a freeway and approaching a lane immediately adjacent to a stationary emergency vehicle, tow truck or CalTrans vehicle displaying emergency lights, drivers must move over to a freeway lane not immediately adjacent to the official vehicle; if unable to move to another lane, motorists are required to slow down. Given the new CalTrans vehicle provision, the law is now the Move Over, Slow Down law. As of 2010, drivers in California will also pay more for both new and renewed driver’s licenses; the cost goes from $28 to $31. Come May, vehicle license fees will also increase nearly double, to 1.15 percent of the assessed value of the vehicle. Another new law on the road allows for cyclists to ride a bicycle without a seat, if indeed the manufacturer design was intended as such. For specifics on other highway rules that do not apply to our area or will be implemented later in the year, visit the California Legislature’s website at LegInfo.ca.gov.
As of January 1, 2009, California drivers were prohibited from writing, sending or reading texts and emails while driving, a law intended to reduce driver distractions, along with the hands-free cell phone law enacted in July 2008. As these are both considered primary offenses, law enforcement officers can pull over any driver if they are seen holding a cell phone or other personal digital assistant while driving.