With the new year will come new California laws intended to keep infants safer, prevent some drunken drivers from hitting the road, and help authorities find missing seniors.
Those new laws and others dealing with motorists, cyclists and public safety, all passed during the 2015 state legislative session and will take effect Friday. Here’s the California Highway Patrol’s rundown of changes:
▪ A Yellow Alert system will be used to notify the public of drivers in hit-and-run crashes that result in deaths or serious injuries by flashing the alert on changeable message signs. The yellow alerts join Silver Alerts that display information on missing people, Amber Alerts that help identify missing children, and blue alerts that broadcast information on violent criminals who pose a serious threat to local, state or federal law enforcement officers.
▪ The Silver Alert emergency notification system will now allow for alerts to be displayed on changeable message signs, like Amber, Yellow and Blue alerts, when a car is involved in a missing person incident. The system will allow law enforcement to broadcast regional or statewide alerts for seniors, or people with developmental disabilities who are missing any may be in danger.
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▪ A pilot project focusing on Breathalyzers in Tulare, Alameda, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties has been given a one-year extension. Under the law, people convicted of driving under the influence may be required to install a Breathalyzer in their cars. If the Breathalyzer detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not start. The length of time the Breathalyzer is required to stay in the car is based on how many DUI convictions the driver has had.
▪ Slow-moving passenger cars and bicycles will be required to pull to the next available lane to let traffic pass. Bicycles will use the next available turnout to let backed-up traffic – five or more cars – go by.
▪ Electrically motorized boards can only be ridden by people 16 and older who are wearing a helmet. Boards powered by electric propulsion can only be ridden up to 15 mph. Electrically motorized boards can only be ridden on a highway up to 35 mph, or specific designated bikeways. Cities and counties are authorized to restrict the use of the electrically motorized boards.
▪ A new electric bicycle law creates three separate classes of electric bicycles based upon their maximum speed and power. Classes 1 and 2 have a maximum power of 20 mph, while Class 3 can reach up to 28 mph. Those riding a Class 3 bicycle must be at least 16 and wear a helmet. Manufacturers and distributors must label the bicycles with the classification number, top assisted speed and wattage. The new law sets up safety restrictions and regulates access to trails and paths.
For complete information on bills enacted in 2015, visit the legislative counsel’s website at http://LegInfo.Legislature.ca.gov.