10 New Laws Every California Driver Should Know in 2018


It’s a new year, and with it comes many new laws. If you’re a California driver, it’s important to know which laws will go into place during 2018. From the use of marijuana to rideshare driver restrictions and parking measures, there are tons of laws hitting the books this year. Here are 10 laws every California driver needs to be aware of in 2018.

No Weed Behind the Wheel

Many Californians are excited about their newfound ability to buy weed legally. But don’t get too excited when it comes to driving. A new Senate bill makes it illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana or any product containing marijuana while driving. You also can’t drive under the influence (even if you’re not using while driving). What’s more, passengers can’t use or ingest marijuana while in the car, either.

Buckle Up on Buses

Starting in July if you’re riding on a bus that has seat belts you have to be buckled up. This goes for children and adults alike. If you’re riding on a school bus, for instance, and the bus doesn’t have seat belts, then you’re obviously not going to be ticketed. But if seat belts are available on a bus, you have to buckle up.

Uber Drivers Are Sober Drivers

Up until now, rideshare drivers were held to the same BAC standard of 0.08. However, a new law holds rideshare drivers to a higher standard of sobriety since they have paying passengers in the car. This doesn’t just apply to Uber or Lyft drivers, though. Any situation wherein someone has paid you to be their driver makes you a rideshare employee for the purposes of this law. So if someone is paying you to be their ride, you’d better make sure you’re sober. The punishment even for first-time convictions in California is license suspension.

No Punishment for Unpaid Parking

It’s typically been the case that your vehicle registration and/or driver’s license could be at stake if you had unpaid parking tickets. Usually, the repercussions came in the form of not being able to renew your license or registration if you had unpaid parking fines or tickets. Now, however, low-income residents in California will be allowed to repay those fines over a period of time before the violation is ever reported to the DMV. You can also file for Planned Non-Operation if you have unpaid parking penalties on your record. You won’t be able to use your vehicle, but you won’t have your registration or license suspended or revoked, either. You can also obtain a new license if you have parking fees or fines. In essence, the law makes it easier for low-income Californians to avoid harsh penalties and the loss of their registration or license simply because they can’t pay a parking fine.

Disabled Placard Crackdown

Sadly, it’s no surprise that there are people who abuse or misuse Disabled Person Parking Placards. In response to this, 2018 brings changes in the law which will make it harder to get a replacement placard. Only four replacement placards will be issued per two years, and if you need more than that you’ll have to get medical documentation from your doctor in order to obtain the replacement. The law also requires proof of your birth date and true full name when you initially obtain your placard. Any placards expiring in 2023 will be the first set of placards to fall under the new renewal laws. Additionally, random audits of those who currently have a placard will be conducted. There are a few more specificities to this law, so be sure to check with your local DMV to make sure you know what to expect.

Honoring the Fallen

A new bill has passed which will allow surviving members of a firefighter’s family to honor their loved one with a special license plate. Spouses, domestic partners, or children of firefighters who have passed away will be able to apply for and receive what’s known as a “California Firefighter Special License Plate” for their car (or other vehicle).

Bypass the Motorcycle Skills Test

The required motorcycle skills test has been in place for years. However, a new law has now given motorcyclists the ability to bypass that skills test by receiving training. As of 2018, the DMV can now accept a certificate of satisfactory completion from any California Highway Patrol-approved motorcyclist training school. However, you’re under 21 you’ll still have to complete a novice training program.

Road Maintenance Will Cost You

One of the more disheartening laws on the books this year is the new requirement for DMVs to collect a Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) with vehicle registrations and registration renewals. You’ll pay between $25 and $175 depending on the value of your vehicle. However, that’s not where it ends. Once July 2020 comes around you’ll also be paying a Road Improvement Fee if you have a zero-emission vehicle with a model year of 2020 or later.

A Change of Regulation

As of July 1, 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission will no longer be the regulatory agency in charge of private carriers of passengers. That would be anything like a church bus, the van that a youth group uses, or anything similar. The regulatory agency for those types of vehicles will be transferred over to the DMV, and CPUC will no longer be involved.

Enjoy the HOV Lane

If you were issued a green or white decal in 2017 or 2018, it will expire in 2019. Not to worry, though, you’ll be able to re-apply in 2019, and the new decal will allow you to access high-occupancy toll lanes until the beginning of 2022. What’s more, in 2019 certain low-emission vehicles will be able to use the carpool lane even if there’s only one person in the car, but only for a four-year term.

It’s important to keep tabs on any new laws as well as the old ones. When you drive you’re saying that you know the laws, and in most cases, not knowing the law is not a defense.

That being said, everyone makes mistakes. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a ticket, it’s almost always a good idea to fight the ticket instead of paying it. TicketVoid has been helping California drivers just like you for years, finding them the perfect attorney for their case.

With just a few pieces of information, we’ll match you with a qualified, experienced traffic attorney in your area. The initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose. Get started today, and exercise your right to fight.


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