Since January 1, 2020, California has been implementing new laws that affect individuals who take care of their vehicles. These laws aim to promote safety, environmental protection, and consumer protection. In this article, we will discuss the new laws and how they impact car owners.
1. Vehicle Inspection
One of the new laws is Senate Bill 210, which requires annual vehicle inspections for all vehicles that are less than eight model years old. Previously, only vehicles that are six years old or older were subjected to inspection. The bill requires smog checks, or emissions tests, to reduce air pollution. If your vehicle fails the inspection, it means that it is emitting more pollutants than allowed, and you will have to get it fixed.
On the other hand, vehicles that are more than eight years old will only undergo biennial inspections. The objective is to reduce inspection fees and streamline the inspection process for older vehicles, which are generally less prone to pollution issues.
The new law intends to ensure that all vehicles in California meet stringent environmental standards. Therefore, it is essential to comply with the requirements and avoid penalties.
2. Child Safety Seats
Under Assembly Bill 1793, children under two years old must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat while riding in a vehicle. The previous law required children younger than eight to be secured in a child safety seat, booster seat, or a seatbelt based on their age and size. The new law sets a higher safety standard to protect infants and toddlers who are more vulnerable to impact in a car collision.
Parents and carers must follow the law to avoid fines and tickets. Also, child safety seats should be fitted correctly to maximize their effectiveness in protecting the child. Experts recommend that parents check the manual of the child safety seat and the vehicle manual to ensure proper fitting.
3. Registration Renewal Fee
The state of California has increased vehicle registration renewal fees effective April 2020 to finance road and bridge repairs. The registration renewal fee for vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds is now $151, which is $25 more than it was previously. The fee for vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds is now $194, an increase of $38.
The new law aims to ensure that California’s roads and bridges are adequately maintained, ensuring safety for both drivers and pedestrians. Therefore, vehicle owners must pay the increased fees to meet their obligation to the state.
4. Driving Under the Influence
Senate Bill 1046 toughens the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). The law expands the use of ignition interlock devices (IID) and increases the penalties for DUI offenders. IID is a breathalyzer device that is installed in the vehicle to immobilize the car if the driver’s breath alcohol level is above the allowed level.
Under the new law, all DUI offenders must install an IID on their vehicles before they can reinstate their driving privileges. The length of time that an IID must be installed depends on the severity of the offense. First-time DUI offenders must install an IID for six months, while repeat offenders must install the device for up to three years.
By implementing the new DUI law, California seeks to prevent drunk driving and the resultant deaths and injuries. Offenders may find the fines, increased jail time, and other sanctions harsh, but they will learn to follow the law and avoid putting other road users’ lives in danger.
5. Autonomous Vehicles
Digital billboards or advertisements on vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in California, particularly on autonomous vehicles. However, Assembly Bill 1323 prohibits digital billboards on self-driving cars while in motion. The law recognizes that the bright lights of digital billboards can distract other drivers, leading to accidents.
The bill also requires digital billboards to comply with federal laws, specifically the highway beautification act, which bars digital signage on highways. The regulators emphasize that the law intends to prevent traffic accidents and maintain safety on the roads.
In summary, the new car laws in California intend to promote safety, environmental protection, and consumer protection. By complying with the laws, vehicle owners can avoid fines, penalties, and legal consequences that may arise from non-compliance.
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-Senate Bill 210
-Assembly Bill 1793
-Ignition Interlock Device
-Child safety seats
-Registration renewal fee
-Driving under the influence