The New Year brings new laws and several will be added to the rules and regulations from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Among the laws taking effect Jan. 1, 2013, is one that law enforcement agencies hope will allow officers to more effectively identify drivers under the influence of illegal drugs.
Under AB 2020, drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs can no longer choose a chemical test of their urine to determine drug content.
The bill’s authors proposed the change in the law after finding many DUI defense attorneys will advise drivers to opt for a urine test because it is unreliable and easier to challenge in court.
The law requires a blood test with a few health-related exceptions according to the DMV.
Other new laws:
New “vintage” look license plates – Here's a law that many vintage car owners or lovers will be thrilled to support. Drivers can apply for an old-style California license plate as a vanity plate beginning in 2013. The plates are with yellow background and black lettering, black background with yellow lettering (see right) or blue background with yellow lettering.
Protect car buyers from “buy-here-pay-here” car dealers – This law not only defines a "buy-here-pay-here" type of business but it also limits how these companies can track the vehicle using GPS. It also bans them from using technology to shut down the car without notifying the buyer first with a written warning.
New fee on vessel owners – The Department of Boating and Waterways will set an increase to help fund dreissenid mussel infestation prevention programs in the state’s waterways. The invasive species, known as the quagga or zebra mussels, can cause a lot of damage to the state's economy. To compare, a similar outbreak in the Great Lakes area is blamed for billions in damages. The new fee won’t be needed for vessels that operated exclusively in marine waters.
Traffic Violator School – people who drive on the job will be able to attend traffic school for violations that occur when they’re driving non-commercial vehicles.
Veteran License Plates – the fee to apply or renew veterans’ organizations license plates will go up. The fees are used by local agencies to help veterans and their families get benefits and services accrued through military service.
Testing of Self-driving cars – Makers of autonomous vehicles can apply for permits to test the cars on state highways provided they’ve met certain requirements.