Fat List of New Laws for the Holidays

California DMV reminding drivers of new ways to get ticketed in 2009

NBC Bay Area

This might not be what you wanted for the holidays, but when's the last time the California Deparment of Motor Vehicles gave you anything good?

In anticipation of the new year, the DMV this week released a fat list of new laws, all of which will go into effect in California on January 1, 2009. Among them are the following:

Counterfeit Clean Air Stickers -- Not sure why this wasn't already against the law, but after the start of the year it will be a crime to "forge, counterfeit, or falsify a Clean Air Sticker." You might recall that these are the golden tickets that allow single-occupancy vehicles — usually of the hybrid variety — to use the high-occupancy vehicle lanes. Hello? Does this mean we could have been getting away with counterfeiting these things all this time? (Forehead smack!)

Text Messaging -- Just like that law that says cell phone users must employ a handsfree device when talking while driving, this new one says it's illegal to "write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communication device ... while driving." That's DMV-speak for no typing, no reading, no clicking.

Air Quality -- No more free ride after forgetting to obtain that smog certificate. As of New Years Day, the DMV will no longer issue temporary permits for free. From now on they're $50 each and will only be issued in the case of vehicles that have been tested on time, but failed to pass. Some drivers might qualify to get the fee waived through the Bureau of Automotive Repair's Consumer Assistance Program.

Motorcycle Definition -- This one's a bit complicated, but the most interesting part of it says the new law will "allow drivers of fully-enclosed 3-wheeled motor vehicles to use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes." Almost makes riding a trike sound cool ... almost.

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