Archive for February, 2018

10 New Laws Every California Driver Should Know in 2018

Friday, February 23rd, 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.

Distracted Driving: It’s More Than Just Cell Phone Use

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Many people believe that distracted driving laws only pertain to cell phone use. However, that’s not the case. In many states, distracted driving can apply to something as minor as eating. From having pets in your lap to fixing your makeup, even reading a map, distracted driving is a term that can be applied to almost anything depending on your state laws. It serves you well to know what your state law says because a routine drive to work can become an expensive lesson if you’re not careful.

Examples of Distracted Driving Laws

States are able to develop distracted driving laws as they see fit, which means the fines, penalties, and consequences you’ll incur for driving while distracted can vary greatly from state to state. Utah, for example, is very serious about the penalties they dole out for distracted driving. The punishments range from hefty fines to restrictions and even jail time. However, while those under 18 years of age are prohibited from using handheld devices, drivers who are over 18 are allowed to. The penalties and laws don’t seem to mesh, and that’s rather common among distracted driving laws.

Michigan is very particular about what is considered distracted driving. Brushing your hair, looking at a physical map, changing your radio station, even talking to people in the car and listening to music too loudly are all activities that could get you ticketed for distracted driving. Many of these laws seem arbitrary, and opponents of the laws have said as much. For instance, what’s considered “too loud”? And who expects a group of people to drive to work in silence? Some have argued that the law seems to be written to allow officers to pull almost anyone over for distracted driving, even for subjective reasons.

In other states, distracted driving includes things like tending to children, having your visor too low, and other kinds of activities and circumstances. It’s hard enough to keep track of your own state’s laws, but for those who travel across state lines as a regular part of their work or lives, the situation can be almost impossible. However, there are some basics you can remember that can help you avoid a distracted driving ticket.

Distracted Driving is Broken into Three Categories

In every state, there are three categories of distracted driving. Visual, manual, and cognitive forms of distracted driving are recognized nationwide. These distractions are defined as such.

●     Visual – Anything that takes your eyes off the road.

●     Manual – Anything that takes your hands off the wheel.

●     Cognitive – Anything that takes your mind off your driving.

You can see immediately that these definitions are extremely broad. Technically, thinking about what you’re having for lunch or an upcoming business meeting could take your mind off your driving, but these things are obviously not detectable by a passing police officer.

With all the ambiguity surrounding distracted driving, it can be hard to know what to do and how to protect yourself. The basics are clear; no matter what’s actually listed in the state law, if what you’re doing falls under any of the three categories, a law enforcement officer can say you were driving while distracted. This ambiguity means you need to be aware of what you’re doing at all times and try to minimize as many observable distractions as possible.

Fighting Your Distracted Driving Ticket Amid Ambiguity

It’s clear that there’s a lot of room for interpretation in these laws. The ambiguity leads some to say that the laws are too subjective and that getting a ticket could come down to which law enforcement officer sees you and what that person considers to be distracting. That’s a good defense, however, when fighting a ticket for distracted driving, and it’s a good reason that you should fight a distracted driving ticket. Don’t let one person’s opinion be a reason for increased insurance rates, points against your license, and a host of other financial and legal consequences.

For some people, a single ticket could mean a license suspension or hefty fines and rate hikes. That’s why Ticket Void has been working with drivers for years to help them find the traffic attorney that’s perfect for their case. If you’ve been charged with distracted driving, don’t pay that ticket before you speak with an attorney. You just might have a case and grounds for the dismissal of your ticket. With just a few pieces of information, Ticket Void can match you with a traffic lawyer in your state who can help you fight your ticket. The initial consultation is free, so what do you have to lose? Get started today, and exercise your right to fight.