Drivers License and Traffic Laws

By Jeffery Rubenstein

2015 Public Law 109–13 Enacted by the 109th Congress Set Real ID Deadline to Augment Homeland Security
Effective October 1, 2021 a Real ID drivers license or passport will be required to board both domestic and international flights. Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for issuance of identification sources, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act implements regulations to establish minimum security standards for state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. And prohibit federal agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet standards for official purposes. For example getting through the airport security checkpoint to board a plane.

Annual Vehicle Code Updates
Each year the California Legislature passes new laws, Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB), that become part of the Vehicle Code. Here are some important new California 2021 drivers license and traffic laws.

DMV Appointment Sales (AB 317)
There have been abuses by scam artists selling DMV appointments. These appointments are provided by the state for free. With AB 317 people are not allowed to buy or sell DMV appointments.

Carpool (HOV) Decals for Low Income Drivers (SB 957)
Low income new owners of used vehicles, previously issued a green or white clean air decal, can get another decal valid until January 1, 2024. The new owner qualifies if he or she has household income 80% or less of California’s median income. As of October 2020 the median household income is $71,228. So a household with income of $56,982 or less qualifies. These stickers provide HOV lane access to solo drivers.

Carpool (HOV) Lane Decals Clean Air (AB 544)
This law continues to provide HOV decals to people who purchase new electric and other clean air vehicles. These stickers provide solo drivers with HOV lane access until 2025. The DMV issues decals with a new color each January 1. For 2021 the color is blue.

Passing Waste Management Trucks (AB 2115)
Waste material collectors have the fifth highest fatality rate among USA occupations. AB 2115 makes it illegal to squeeze past these trucks in the same lane. Drivers are now required to change lanes before passing a garbage, refuse or recycling truck.

Bicycles and Traffic Control (AB 1266)
Bicycles are now allowed to ride straight ahead in left or right turn lanes at traffic lights. One of many good reasons for not driving distracted or intoxicated.

Roadkill (SB 395)
To remove dead wildlife from the road for human consumption now requires a permit from California Fish and Game. Applies to deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and wild pigs. Any driver who hits a large animal is required to report it to police.

Used Tires (AB 949)
Auto repair dealers now need to inspect used tires to see if they meet specific criteria for highway use.

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