New California Driving Laws For January 1st, 2017: Cellphones, Lane Splitting, & Car Seats!

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With the New Year come new California driving laws to pay attention to!

1. You can’t touch your cellphone while driving. Yep, for real. On Sunday, it will become illegal in California to hold your cellphone while operating a vehicle. Not just talking or texting, but having the phone in your hands will be a violation you can be written up for. The only exception is for genuine emergency calls. Otherwise, any permissible use of a phone while driving will be for single swipes or taps, and only if the phone is mounted to your vehicle in a spot which does not obscure driving view. Expect CHP officers to be on the lookout.

2. Lane-splitting is now legal and a defined practice. Motorcyclists have rode in between lanes for years now to move quickly through traffic but starting on January 1st, the law officially says they can. Lane-splitting allows for the motorcyclists to lane-split going a max of 15 MPH faster than the flow of traffic [they cannot go faster than 50 MPH while lane-splitting, so the general flow of traffic cannot be going faster than 35 MPH for lane-splitting to be allowed]. Generally the idea is to allow bikers to continue to move along in traffic since they are able to.

3. A child’s car seat must rear-facing until age 2. So previously in California, you had to have your child facing rear in a child-seat until they were 1 year old. AB53 has updated the law so that any child under 2 must be facing the rear of the vehicle. Child safety seats are required until a child is 8 years old. The exceptions are if a child is over 8 years old or 4 foot 9 inches tall at which point they may use the car’s own seat belt.

Be prepared , California! Be safe!

If you get a ticket and need help, check out I Drive Safely’s Online California Traffic School

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