The laws and regulations outlined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC) are subject to ongoing revision and legislative change. As technology, communications systems, and the conditions of our society evolve, the rules for safe, responsible driving must adapt to keep up with the new developments. Legislative revision of the vehicle code continues to protect everyone who is a driver or a passenger of a motor vehicle.
Because the Department of Motor Vehicles, law enforcement officers, and the courts follow the full and precise language of the vehicle code, it is important that drivers are aware of new regulations that may affect their driving decisions or their ability to qualify for a driver's license. This is a summary of recent changes in California law.
New Laws in 2013
Prior to January 1, 2013, persons lawfully arrested for a DUI had the option of a blood, breath, or urine chemical test. Recent legislation no longer permits the urine chemical test except under specific circumstances.
The California Vehicle Code's "implied consent for chemical testing" requires a blood or breath chemical test when a person is lawfully arrested for DUI involving drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. The urine chemical test is only permitted under the following conditions:
Both blood and breath tests are unavailable.
The individual is a hemophiliac.
The individual is taking anticoagulant medication.
New Laws in 2012
Children must be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint (safety seat or booster seat) in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 8 years old or 4' 9" in height.
New Laws in 2011
Car Pool Lanes or High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes can be occupied by individual drivers of certain fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles if drivers obtain an appropriate sticker from the DMV. White stickers may be issued to fully-electric and compressed natural gas vehicles until January 1, 2015, and a sticker for plug-in hybrid vehicles may be issued from January 1, 2012 until January 1, 2015.
Violations of the California Vehicle Code will now be recorded as "convictions," which will create a detailed account of a person's driving history. The courts will no longer "dismiss" infractions after a driver attends Traffic Violator School (TVS). The new state law AB 2499 will bring court-approved courses in traffic safety into the DMV Traffic Violator School licensing program, and implement a study of traffic school issues over the next three years.
Organ donation is affected by a new law revising the language on the DMV's driver's license application relative to an applicant's willingness to register as a prospective organ donor, with the goal of increasing the number of enrollees in the organ donor program.
Motorcycle license applicants under 21 years of age must complete an approved motorcycle training class before applying for an instruction permit with which to practice operating a motorcycle. The permit must be held for 6 months before the person can be issued a class M motorcycle driver license.
Firefighter Endorsement Change: A firefighter, including a tiller operator, is required to have a valid noncommercial Class C license, or Commercial Class A or B license and a firefighter endorsement issued by the DMV to operate firefighting equipment.
Pedicab Operator Requirements: Operators of pedicabs for hire are required to hold one or more of the following documents: A valid California driver license, proof of successful completion of a bicycle training course certified by the League of American Bicyclists or an equivalent organization, or a valid California identification card and proof of successful completion of the written portion of the California driver's license examination administered by the DMV.
New Laws in 2010
Ignition Interlock Devices: As of July 1, 2010, a pilot program will begin in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles,