Beginning January 1st, 2022, new traffic safety-related laws will go into effect in the state of California. The new traffic laws cover a wide range of issues, from illegal sideshows to safety equipment for equestrian riders. Below, our traffic offenses attorneys discuss these new laws and explain how they will impact drivers and pedestrians in California.
Assembly Bill 3: Sideshow Definition & Penalties
Under this new law, a “sideshow” event is defined as an event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway, for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving, for spectators.”
AB 3 also strengthens the penalties for violations related to illegal street takeovers. However, stricter punishments for these offenses don’t go into effect until July 1, 2025. When it does kick in, a person convicted of exhibition of speed during a sideshow can have their driver’s license suspended for 90 days to 6 months.
Assembly Bill 974: Equestrian Safety Gear
AB 974 states that anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding a horse, mule, or donkey on a paved highway. AB 974 also states that riders of all ages or their equines must wear a lamp or reflective gear if they are riding after sundown.
Violating AB 974 can result in a fine of up to $25. AB 974 includes an exemption if you are riding an equestrian animal during a parade or festival, or if you are crossing from a paved to an unpaved highway.
Assembly Bill 798: Tribal Emergency Vehicles
AB 798 removes restrictions on ambulances owned and operated by a fire department of federally recognized Native American tribes in the state of California. Prior to AB 798, these vehicles were treated the same as privately operated ones. Under AB 798, a vehicle owned or operated by a federally recognized tribe is considered an authorized emergency vehicle when it is responding to an emergency.
Assembly Bill 47: License Points for Distracted Driving
Although it was already illegal for drivers to use a handheld cellphone while they are operating a vehicle before AB 47 went into effect July 1, 2021, drivers can now be punished with points on their driver’s license for a second offense .
If you are caught violating the hands-free law a second time within 36 months of being convicted for the same offense, then one point will be added to your driver’s record. Violations of AB 47 include talking or texting on a smartphone and any use of such devices by drivers who are under the age of 18.
Assembly Bill 43: Traffic Safety
AB 43 authorizes local authorities to reduce speed limits in consideration of the safety of vulnerable groups, like cyclists and pedestrians. AB 43 establishes “various default speed limits for vehicles upon highways” and “authorizes state and local authorities to adjust these default speed limits, as specified, based upon certain findings determined by an engineering and traffic survey.”
AB 43 also “defines an engineering and traffic survey and prescribes specified factors that must be included in the survey, including prevailing speeds and road conditions.” The law also authorizes local authorities to “consider additional factors, including pedestrian and bicyclist safety, as well as “ the safety of vulnerable pedestrian groups.”
Consult with Our Traffic Offense Lawyers Today
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our team of traffic offense lawyers are serious about protecting our clients’ rights and ensuring that they are protected under the law. Our award-winning law firm has represented drivers and pedestrians in a wide variety of traffic offenses. Our knowledgeable legal professionals are here to help, and our stellar track record shows that we are committed to securing favorable results for the clients we represent.
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