It’s 2013, can you believe it?!
As we kick off a new year, we at Safety 1st Driving School want all our Orange County readers to be aware of some new changes to California law that directly affect drivers. Laws are always changing, so it’s important to stay in the know. When it comes to the law, ignorance is no excuse!
This list isn’t exhaustive, it’s just a few of the new laws effective in 2013 that pertain to driver safety.
1. Texting While Driving
Amends Section 23123.5 of the CA Vehicle Code. Previously, it was illegal to write, send, or read a text message (or IM or email) while behind-the-wheel. New law permits you to dictate, send, and listen to text communications (including instant messages and emails) ONLY IF you have a hands-free device specifically designed and configured to allow for voice-operated text-based communications.
2. Child Passenger Restraints
Amends Section 27363.5 of the CA Vehicle Code. Children are required to be in an appropriate car seat (must be rear-facing, 5-point harness until they are at least 1 year of age AND 20 lbs.) or booster seat (both in the back seat) at least until they reach age 8 or a height of 4’9″. Then they are able to ride in the back seat, secured by a safety belt.
Previously, public or private hospitals, clinics, or birthing centers, at the time a child under age 8 is discharged, were required to provide and discuss information to the child’s parents (or adults to whom the child is discharged) pertaining to current laws regarding child passenger restraints. New law also requires that these institutions also provide contact information for CHP and other organizations that can provide information and assistance with child safety restraint systems at little or no cost.
3. Proof of Insurance
Amends Section 16028 of the CA Vehicle Code and Section 515 of the CA Insurance Code. Drivers must show proof of registration and insurance when stopped by law enforcement. New law allows drivers to show proof of active insurance coverage to law enforcement officers via a mobile electronic device, if their insurer chooses to issue such verification in an electronic format.
Amends Section 23612 of the CA Vehicle Code. Formerly, a person lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of a drug and/or alcoholic beverage had the option of choosing between blood, urine, and breath tests. New law provides that such a person is deemed to have given their consent for blood or breath testing for alcohol content, and blood testing for drug content. Exceptions apply, and a law enforcement officer may require someone who has taken a breath test to also submit to a blood test under certain conditions.
Orange County drivers, young and old, amateurs and veterans alike: Please drive carefully this year! Always wear seat belts, follow all traffic laws, don’t drink and drive, and don’t text and drive! (Holding your phone and talking while in speaker mode does NOT make it a hands-free device!)
We look forward to helping make Orange County a safer place as we continue to provide information to the public and teach teenage drivers the behind-the-wheel techniques they need to become safe, skilled drivers.