New 2016 California DMV Laws


The New Year brings new laws and several will be added to the rules and regulations from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The California New Motor Voter Act goes into effect January 1 and could add millions of voters to the state’s voter registry. Eligible voters who apply for driver licenses, identification cards or submit for a change of address will be registered to vote. California is the second state in the nation to enact a law like this. Oregon was the first.

It will be illegal to wear earbuds or headsets while driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle in the state of California. SB 491 does not apply to drivers in emergency vehicles or those drivers wearing covering for safety reasons.

It will also be against the law to ride an electric skateboard while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. AB 604 requires riders to be 16 years or older and helmeted. It also restricts use in some public places and on roads where speed limits are over 35 mph. A conviction for violating this law is punishable by a fine of up $250.

Under AB 1422 companies like Uber and Lyft must routinely review driver records through a DMV program that will notify them of violations, accidents and license suspensions.

A California Residency Requirement will require proof of California state residency for anyone applying for an original driver license or identification card through the DMV. AB 1465 takes effect starting July 1, 2016.

A new law allows electric bicycles to use roads similar to other bicycle riders. Under AB 1096 the California Vehicle Code will consider an electric bicycle as one with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. Companies making the bikes will need to certify that they have specified requirements. Electric bicycle riders will also have access to bicycle routes used by non-electric bikes.

Lawmakers extended a pilot project requiring Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to be installed for people convicted of a DUI in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties. The device must be installed for five months after a first offense. Repeat offenses carry longer time periods.

Millions of Californians get their licenses revoked for not paying traffic fines or appearing in court, according to supporters of SB 405. The law makes it easier for drivers to contest a traffic citation before paying the fines.

The Beer Bike Law (SB530) goes into effect, creating a vehicle safety standard for bike buses that allow up to 15 people to pedal at once. Beer bikes have been popping up in Sacramento and San Diego as a riding tour, often with stops at bars and restaurants.

Under AB 265, a “buy here, pay here” car dealership must give 5 to 10-day notice before using a “remote kill device” for lack of payment. The previous time period was 48 hours.

Unless otherwise noted, the new laws will take effect on January 1, 2016.


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