With the New Year comes a number of new automobile and pedestrian-related regulations that go into effect in California. For example, in the area of traffic laws, three important laws became active on Jan. 1. In addition, vehicle registration fees will increase by $1 for passenger vehicles and $2 for commercial vehicles in 2014. These additional fees are expected to subsidize programs related to vehicle theft. As for the new laws, they are designed to protect both drivers and passengers, as well as motorcyclists and cyclists on the road. Read on to learn more about these new updates and to make sure you are abiding by California law.
The first one relates to teen drivers 18 years of age and younger. Per this new texting and driving law, motorists under the age of 18 will be prohibited from typing, sending or reading text messages while driving. We hope this leads to a decrease in the number of distracted driving related accidents by teens, as there are many each year. Included under this law are messages that are sent using hands-free devices. Officials say that the new law applies specifically to teens under the age of 18.
The second new law applies to hit and run accidents. Under this legal update, and beginning Jan. 1, the criminal statute of limitations for a hit and run accident is amended. A criminal complaint can now be filed within three years of hit-and-run crimes that result in death, permanent injuries or serious injuries. In addition, prosecutors will also have one year to file criminal charges against hit-and-run drivers after they have been identified as suspects in serious crashes. Hopefully this new law will help hold hit-and-run drivers accountable for their actions.
The third, and equally as important, new law that goes into effect in 2014 concerns the passing distances granted to bicyclists. Cycling is a popular activity in Los Angeles and as many drivers can attest, the roads are often filled with cyclists and serious bicycle accidents often result. Beginning Sept. 16, 2014, it will be unlawful for any part of a motor vehicle to come within 3 feet of a bicyclist. If it is not possible to remain outside the 3-foot buffer zone, the driver is required to slow down to a “reasonable and prudent speed” and only pass the bicyclist when it’s safe to do so.
These new traffic laws, and old ones, are in place to ensure the safety of everyone using Los Angeles roads. If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent or reckless motorist, reach out to an aggressive car accident lawyer in Los Angeles to discuss filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. With the help of the right attorney, you may be able to recover compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
For more information on California traffic laws, or to discuss your potential accident case, contact the attorneys at BIKLAW today.