California legislators introduced a host of new restrictions intended to increase vehicle, driver and passenger safety on highways and roads this year. The laws are many and varied. Some address child safety while others are focused on general driving safety.

A change to the existing California Child Passenger Safety Seat law now requires that all children ride in either a booster seat or car seat until they are 8 years old, or reach a minimum height of 4 feet 9 inches. Also, if the child is not a required minimum height they must ride in the back seat of the vehicle, if a backseat is available and not already occupied by children under the age of 8. Children who are one year, weigh less than 20 pounds, or are riding in a rear facing child safety seat are still forbidden from riding in the front seat if the vehicle has an active passenger side airbag system.

First a new section was added to the existing driving code addressing those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. Section 23579 was added to the California Vehicle Code and allows courts to revoke a driver’s license for 10 years if a person is convicted of three or more DUIs. This law was originally passed in 2010 and allows a driver to apply for a reinstatement of driving privileges with California Department of Motor Vehicles after five years if they installed an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle. The new law allows the DMV to terminate the restricted license if the IID requirements are not met.

Also, drivers are now required to stop and submit to a sobriety checkpoint operated by police, however, police are prohibited from impounding a vehicle for 30 days if the driver’s only offense at the checkpoint if failing to hold a driving license. The law also requires officers to make a reasonable attempt to locate the rightful registered owner of the vehicle in order to release it to them.