Attn drivers: CHP highlights new laws for 2014

A law prohibits anyone under 18 from using using an electronic wireless communications while driving, even hands-free devices.

A law prohibits anyone under age 18 from using electronic wireless communications while driving, even hands-free devices.

The California Highway Patrol is reminding motorists of several new laws or changes to existing law that go into effect in 2014. The following are summaries of some transportation-related laws that, unless otherwise stated, went into effect on January 1.

Teen Drivers (SB 194, Galgiani): This law prohibits a person who is under 18 years of age from using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device.

Hit and Run: Statute of Limitations (AB 184, Gatto): This law extends the statute of limitations for hit-and-run collisions in which death or permanent, serious injury was a result. A criminal complaint may be filed within three years of the offense, or one year after the person was initially identified by law enforcement as a suspect in the commission of the offense, which ever comes later, but in no case more than six years after the offense.

Registration Fees: Vehicle Theft (AB 767, Levine): This law authorizes counties to increase registration fees by $1 for passenger vehicles and $2 for commercial vehicles to fund programs related to vehicle theft crimes in those counties.

Bicycles: Passing Distance (AB 1371, Bradford): This law prohibits motorists from passing a bicycle with less than three feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle or driver. When three feet is not possible, the motor vehicle must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and only pass when no danger is present to the bicyclist. Failing to do so can incur a fine, regardless of a collision or not. This law will go into effect September 16, 2014.

AMBER Alert: Expansion (AB 535, Quirk): This law requires law enforcement to request activation of the AMBER Alerts after receiving a report that a child has been taken abducted by anyone, including a custodial parent or guardian, who may cause serious bodily injury or death to the child.

Search Warrants: Chemical Tests (SB 717, DeSaulnier): This amendment to current law authorizes the issuance of a search warrant to draw blood from a person in a reasonable, medically approved manner, to show that the person violated misdemeanor DUI provisions when that person has refused an officer’s request to submit to, or has failed to complete, a blood test. This law has been operative since September 20, 2013.

High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (AB 266 / SB 286, Yee / Blumenfield): Together these laws extend sunset dates for low emission, zero emission vehicles to operate in high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) without meeting occupancy requirements to January 1, 2019.

For complete information on chaptered bills enacted in 2013, refer to the Legislative Counsel website at

  7 comments for “Attn drivers: CHP highlights new laws for 2014

  1. Carolyn
    January 19, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    There should be laws written for the bycylists. Imagine how many more law suits there will be now. They already think they own the road and dont pay attention to vehicles coming from behind them. They dont stay within their lane wandering all over the road. They too should be held accountable for any accidents. This almost doesnt seem fair to motorists.

  2. James
    January 7, 2014 at 6:56 am

    The bike law seems a little crazy since when riding most of the time they think they own the highway. I cannot tell you how many times they ride side by side and create the danger. They continually create the danger and while their safety is a concern don’t put the blame on the driver. I see these people riding like they are a clown in a circus with someone on the handlebars and can say I have never seen a ticket being written. It makes them more of a danger than the all to common cell phone!!!!!

  3. Nancy P
    January 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Does the bike law cover the groups of teens who intentionally block the street with their bikes? They ride in circles in front of your car, stopping to mean mug or come next to your car and look in. Sometimes checking to see if your car door is unlocked? Does this law protect them or the car driver?

  4. Bob
    January 4, 2014 at 8:01 am

    This bike law is a joke. The state, counties, and cities just need to make more pedestrian and bike paths.

    Recreational bikers need to take routes that use bike lanes instead of disrupting commuter vehicle roads. Bikers who are commuting I can understand, but the idiots just doing it for recreation are annoying.

    Seeing idiots riding their bikes on SR138 is just mind boggling and stupid on their part.

    • KT
      January 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s a lot better than what I was thinking: “Gawd, I hate bicyclists.”

    • sickofit
      January 6, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Seeing people riding bicycles on half the roads in the valley is mind bogglling. Bikes should not be allowed unless in a bike lane. The roads were built for motor vehicles and our taxes pay for them.

      • Jason
        January 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        You do realize that most people that ride bikes also drive cars and pay the same taxes you do? And bikes are considered vehicles.

        I get the reasons some people complain because there are those that dont obey the laws and are idiots on bikes. I see it all the time and mostly its teenagers who dont give two @#$%^. But those of us that obey the law and ride correctly not impeding traffic shouldnt suffer because of those morons. They put the three foot rule in because of morons who think its funny to buzz someone on a bike in a 3000 pound vehicle.

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