Often, it seems like the only way that California traffic makes headlines is when it comes to the congestion in the Los Angeles area. But as of January 1, 2018, a slew of new car laws went into effect in the “Golden State” that are worthy of their own headlines – and a few more are going to take effect later this year. All California drivers should be aware of these new laws, and it’s certainly something that we’ll be educating students on in our CA traffic school online. But in the meantime, this post will look at some of the more notable laws that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has imposed for 2018. Have a look:

No ‘Smoking’ and Driving

We’re not talking about cigarettes – that has been and still is legal in the state. No, we’re talking about marijuana, or cannabis, if you will. A new law this year in California will prohibit both drivers and passengers from smoking and/or consuming marijuana products in a car. As you may recall, recreational and medical marijuana is legal in the state of California. This law will just work to ensure that people are using it responsibly.

See a Seatbelt on that Bus? Use it!

As of January 1, 2018, if you’re riding a bus in California and your seat is equipped with a seatbelt, you’re breaking the law if you don’t use it. What’s more is the law mandates that any children riding a bus between eight and 16 years old must be properly restrained by a seat belt or other approved restraining device. Safety first, right?

Don’t Drink and Drive

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or less in California for those 21 and up to legally operate a vehicle. However, this year, the state is halving that when it comes to drivers for hire. That’s right, if you drive an Uber, Lyft or work for any other similar service, you’re breaking the law if you drive your vehicle with a BAC of more than 0.04. Unlike many other driving laws on this list, this one won’t go into effect until July 1, 2018.

Revised Parking Violation Law

If outstanding parking violations are reported to the DMV, it can take a hit on your license and registration renewal efforts. That’s where this revamped law comes into play, particularly when it comes to low income California citizens. Under this new 2018 law, anyone with unpaid violations will be allowed to designate their vehicle as non-operational for the subsequent renewal year without having such issues being reported to the DMV. Essentially, the law is designed to help people buy time.

Motorcycle Training Revamp

Are you a motorcycle rider that was trained by the California Highway Patrol? If so, and you’re over the age of 21, you’ll be allowed to bypass the DMV test for a motorcycle license. If you’re under 21, however, you’ll still have to go through standard training to earn an M1 or M2 license. Be sure to know where you stand when it comes to this.

Increased Registration Fees for Road Maintenance

Vehicle registration is already expensive enough to many people, but starting in 2018 it’s about to get a bit pricier. That’s because the California DMV will now be collecting for a “Transportation Improvement Fee” when a vehicle is up for registration renewal. This fee ranges from $25 to $175 and the price you’ll pay is dictated by the value of your vehicle. So, for instance, if you’re driving a Toyota Corolla, you’re likely going to pay much less for this fee than you would if you were driving a Tesla or a Porsche. We can’t imagine many people will be happy about this increased cost, but if the excess fees go back into the state’s infrastructure like the state says it will, it’ll make for better driving conditions in the future. We’re sure residents will appreciate that.

Revamped Firefighter License Plate Program

Prior to this year, only retired or current firefighters, or spouses of fallen firefighters were eligible to receive a special “California Firefighter” license plate for their vehicles. This year, however, the state has expanded the program to open it up to spouses, domestic partners and children of fallen firefighters. It’s a nice gesture that will certainly be appreciated by family members wishing to honor a loved one who fell in the line of duty.

For more information on these laws and the other laws taking effect in California this year, click here. Contact us today for more information on our traffic school online for California residents today.