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New Year Driving in California: 8 New Laws on the Books for 2017

On Dec. 29, the Los Angeles Times published a run-down of new laws on the books in California. There are dozens. When it comes to driving, drivers, and passengers, the Times lists eight. These run the gamut from child seats to the blood alcohol content of Uber drivers.

Rear-facing car seats

If you have a little one riding with you in the car, and she's not quite two years old, be sure to have her secured in a rear-facing car seat. If the child is younger than two, or weighs less than 40 lbs. (and is shorter than 40 in.), forward-facing car seats put the child in greater danger in the event of a crash.

Ignition interlock devices

A DUI conviction will require you to install and maintain an ignition interlock on your car, which prevents the car from starting if the device registers alcohol on your breath (though the Times reports that Senate Bill 1046 doesn't go into effect until 2019). The new law will apparently make ignition interlocks a statewide requirement, as opposed to just local, wherein some counties already impose this requirement.

Texting and driving ban

As we wrote in this post on the hands-free law on Jan. 4, the new texting while driving ban means that drivers can only swipe and tap, and must have their phones mounted, as opposed to in their hands. As the Times reports, the law doesn't stop at traditional texting. Driving around searching for Pokemon Go characters is also a no-no.

Lane splitting for motorcyclists

Is it legal? Is it illegal? This - riding your motorcycle between the lanes, or lane splitting - was one of those gray areas where people never seemed sure. California has now given lane splitting its official blessing, but how fast remains a question. Apparently, lawmakers and agencies have yet to work out the rule on speed limits. For now (as should generally be the case), rely on commonsense. In other words, don't go too fast.

Four other rules

These are:

  • Restrictions on hiring at Uber and Lyft (the companies cannot hire drivers with sex offenses, violent crimes, or repeat DUIs on their records)
  • For those same types of drivers, they are allowed a max 0.04 for blood alcohol content, as opposed to 0.08, or they risk a DUI
  • Charter buses must provide written or video instructions on safety to passengers
  • School districts must provide improved bus driver training to prevent students from being left alone on buses

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