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Texting while driving, DUI changes top list of new laws

Posted: Friday, Dec 28th, 2012

WATSONVILLE — As the world welcomes 2013, many new state laws will go into effect on Jan. 1, including changes to texting while driving, a boost for driverless cars, how DUI suspects will be tested and college-funding changes called the California Dream Act (part 2).

A new law will also require condo and apartment owners to have a carbon monoxide detector in their dwelling.

“The changes to California’s traffic safety laws are designed to protect the motoring public,” stated California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Citizens are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these new laws in advance of the new year."

The following is a summary of some of the new laws, starting with traffic laws. For a complete look at all new California laws, visit www.LegInfo.ca.gov.

AB 1536: Electronic Wireless Communications

This law allows California drivers to use hands-free technology to talk and text while driving. This will require the use of a device that is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send or listen to a text-based communication. The device is required to also be used in a voice-operated, hands-free manner to be in compliance with the law.

AB 2020: Driving Under the Influence

The law no longer allows a person who has been arrested and is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs the option of a urine test. Prior to this change, a person had the option of submitting either urine or blood to determine the drug content of their blood.

AB 45: Charter-Party Carriers of Passengers: Alcoholic Beverages: Open Containers

This new law prohibits underage drinking in charter-party carriers (limos,

buses, etc.) and makes the carrier and driver responsible for communicating this to their passengers. The law also requires a designee, who is at least 25 years of age, to be present whenever there are passengers who are under 21 years of age on board the vehicle and alcohol is being transported. The designee shall be responsible for ensuring the rules are followed, and the safety of the underage passengers throughout the duration of the trip.

AB 1708: Financial Responsibility and Insurance

Drivers will now have the option of providing proof of insurance and registration on an electronic device (smartphone, tablet, etc.), when it is requested by law enforcement.

For the complete article see the 12-29-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-29-2012 paper.

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