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New California DMV Laws for 2019

The New Year brings a slew of new legislation to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Many of the laws that passed in 2018 go into effect in January of 2019. Among them are laws that pertain to the operation and registering of motor vehicles in the state of California. Here is what our San Jose car accident attorneys want California residents to know:

Gender Identity Laws (SB 179)

Under a law passed in 2018, anyone in California who applies for a license or government issued ID, will have the option of selecting their gender identity. The options will be male, female, or non-binary. Those who elect the non-binary option will receive a license or photo ID with an “X” in that category.

Temporary Plate Laws (AB 516)

The state now requires California auto dealers to put a paper, temporary license plate on every vehicle they sell. The plates must include an expiration date and identification number. The law applies to both new and used vehicles. The law intends to reduce the number of people passing through payment booths.

Breathalyzer Upon Engine Start (SB 1046)

A new rule for repeat DUI offenders will roll out between 2019 and 2026, with the first phase occurring in January 2019. Under the law, any person with repeat DUIs or one DUI leading to injury must install a breathalyzer upon engine start (IDD) in their vehicles for a period lasting between 12 and 48 months, depending on the nature of the offense.

Minor Driving Privileges (AB 2865)

Under a new law, California courts will be unable to delay or suspend a minor’s driver’s license on the grounds of truancy or being under the guardianship of the state. However, suspensions that took effect prior to January 1, 2019, will remain in effect.

Polluting Emissions Law (AB 1274)

California law now allows for an extension in the exemption from smog verification. Newly purchased vehicles will now be exempt from smog checks for 8 years instead of six. The shift in frequency is thanks to advances in technology. The vehicle owner will have to pay $25 for the first two years for the exemption, and $20 the next six.

Unsafe Loads on Vehicles (AB 1925)

The DMV now requires at least one question on knowledge tests about California’s laws regarding unsafe loads. Among other things, this will help Californians understand the hazards of transporting unsafe or unsecured cargo.

Motorized Scooter Law (AB 2989)

Under a new law, people over the age of 18 will no longer have to wear a helmet while operating a motorized scooter. Additionally, a person who uses a motorized scooter may operate on Class IV bikeways and Class II roads.

Low Emission Vehicle Decals (AB 544)

Previously, the DMV created white decals for the certification of low emission vehicles in HOV lanes. Effective January 1, 2019, the DMV will begin a new sticker program. Certain low emission vehicles the ability to travel in an HOV lane regardless of the number of people in the vehicle, for four years. If the DMV granted a green or white decal to a vehicle between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018, that vehicle will be able to receive a red decal that gives them the ability to travel in HOV lanes until 2022. In the coming year, the DMV will also issue violet decals that give cars the ability to travel in HOV lanes until 2023.

California has several new laws that go into effect this January. Residents should be aware of the statutes that will affect them and take proper steps to observe the changes. Being informed can help avoid fines and further civil action, if applicable.