The California legislature is known for adding several new laws every year, and 2018 is no exception.
Starting January 2018, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will begin implementing several new laws that restrict certain driving behaviors.
One of the first new laws being placed is the restriction of driving while smoking or ingesting any form of marijuana. Californians will be able to legally use marijuana recreationally starting in 2018, so the DMV took matters into its own hands in order to prevent drivers from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
In addition to this law, motorists will also be restricted from allowing passengers to smoke or ingest marijuana. Passengers who do will be subject to serious penalties.
Regarding other changes, CA residents who are in need of registering or renewing their vehicles will be subject to paying higher fees than in previous years. The new Transportation Improvement Fee will range from $25-$175 and will be based on the value of the driver’s vehicle.
For example, if the driver’s vehicle is worth between $35,000 and $59,000, he or she will be required to pay a fee of $150 to register or renew registration documents.
Ride-sharing app drivers for companies such as Uber or Lyft will also be subject to some changes in 2018. Starting July 1st, Uber or Lyft drivers will not be able to have a blood concentration level of 0.04 percent or higher while transporting passengers.
If a ride-sharing driver is caught with a higher blood concentration level, he or she may be subject to having his or her driver’s license suspended indefinitely.
New laws starting July 1st also include rules for bus riders, breaks for low-income drivers with unpaid parking tickets and new handicap parking regulations.
CA residents who commute on buses that are equipped with seat belts will now be required by law to buckle up while the bus is in operation. The same rule applies to kids between the ages of 8 and 16, unless they are restrained by a different device that meets federal safety standards.
Motorists who are considered low income will be given extra time to pay off their pending parking tickets before violations are reported to the CA DMV. The law also makes it acceptable for drivers who have outstanding parking violations to renew their driver’s license or car registration before they expire.
Law enforcement will also be cracking down on the illegal use of disabled parking permits. Residents driving with disabled parking placards or license plates will be required to provide proof of name and birth date with a valid ID.
"We must block scofflaws and fraudsters from gaming the DMV's placard and license plate program for drivers with disabilities and ensure that the motorists who need this important program have access to its benefits," said Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, who authored the bill. "These changes to state law, along with changes recently made by the DMV, will go a long way toward reducing fraud and abuse."
Additionally, the number of replacement placards that can be issued will be reduced to just four within a two-year period, unless the driver has a specific medical certification that would allow for an exception.