Every year there are a few new traffic laws passed in California and it is a good idea to keep track of them. Ignorance of the law will not keep you from getting a ticket nor will it help you pass the driving test if you happen to be blessed with having to take it this year. Here are a few of the new traffic laws passed in 2013.

  • Financial Responsibility – As you probably know you have to have insurance in place as well as proof of insurance in order to drive a vehicle in California. One of the new laws allows you to use an electronic version of of your proof od financial responsibility using an electronic mobile device (ipad, internet phone, etc) instead of a paper version.
  • Electronic Wireless Communications – If you are 18 years old or older you can use a voice operated hands-free device to dictate, send or listen to text messages while operating your vehicle. If you are younger than 18 years old, you may not use a cellphone with or without hands free unless it is an emergency and you are calling for help
  • DUI Tests – First it is good to know that if you are driving in California, you have already given your consent to a driving test. If you don’t want to consent to a test, don’t drive in California. The new law stipulates that the Urine test has been eliminated as one of the three possible chemical tests that can be use to determine a persons drug content if arrested for a DUI of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. There are three exceptions to this.
    1. If the person is unable to provide a blood or breath sample
    2. If the person has a heart condition or is taking anti-coagulate narcotics as directed by a licensed physician.
    3. If the person is a hemophiliac
  • High Occupancy Toll Lanes or Carpool Lanes – Allows certain low emission and hybrid vehicles to use the “High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes without paying the toll charges required on High Occupancy Toll Lanes (HOT), unless of course this is prohibited by federal law. Clear as mud right? It would appear that you still need to have a special DMV-issued decal and with this you may (or may not) be exempt from paying the toll charge of the high occupancy tool lanes.
  • Obstruction or Alteration of License plates – I’ve always wondered about those films, covers, sprays etc that can be put over your license plate to keep police speed cameras from being able to take a picture of your license plate. Well, the new law makes it illegal to sell or use any device that obscures the recognition or reading of a license plate. I’ve seen several designs of products that obscure a license plate from sprays that put out a high glare when a police camera flashes on them to covers that obscures your plates when viewed at an angle. Interesting idea, but don’t do it in California!

Well, those are some of the highlights of the new 2013 traffic laws that were effective as of Jan 1, 2013. If you are going to be taking a California Drivers Test this year it would be a good idea to drop in on DMV and get a new book to look over before you take the test. Yo ucan also get more information at dmv.ca.gov