New laws effective January 1

Several new laws went into effect January 1. In all, 1,187 bills were passed and 772 were signed into law in 2008– including over 80 changes to the Vehicle Code. Some of the changes include fee increases to improve air quality, DUI penalties, and a new special interest license plate.
Among the new laws are:

AB 2241 limits the issuance of temporary operating permits to those individuals whose vehicles have yet to pass a smog check. The law calls for a $50 fee for one 60-day temporary operating permit only if the vehicle has been tested at a smog station and failed.
AB 2042 allows law enforcement officers to impound vehicles that are being sold by unlicensed dealers.
SB 1720 will make it a crime to forge, counterfeit or falsify a Clean Air Sticker. These stickers are currently issued by the DMV and allow certain low emission vehicles to be driven in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
SB 28 makes it an infraction to write, send or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communication device, such as a cell phone, while driving.
AB 1165 creates a new authority for DMV to administratively suspend the driver’s license for one year under a zero tolerance standard. The new law authorizes law enforcement to issue a notice of suspension and impound the vehicle of a person who is driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater while on court-ordered post-DUI probation.
AB 2522 adds an air quality fee of $6 to vehicle owners who register their vehicles in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties and Valley portions of Kern County. The $6 will go toward funding programs that reduce vehicle emissions.
SB 1455 makes a new “Gold Star Family” special interest license available to family members of individuals killed in the line of duty while serving in the Armed Forces during wartime or military operations.
AB 2272 changes the definition of a motorcycle, deleting the existing weight limitation of 1500 pounds. It also removes a separate definition for electrically powered vehicles. This change in law will also allow drivers of fully enclosed three-wheeled motor vehicles to use the HOV lanes.
For a more comprehensive list of the new laws, visit

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