New traffic/automobile laws to be mindful of in 2017

by Contributed Content on January 12, 2017

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The Atherton Police Department reminds people that a number of new state laws went into effect on January 1. Among them:

Hands Free While Driving

Californians are no longer allowed to use a handheld wireless phone or wireless electronic device while driving, unless the device is mounted on the vehicle windshield or dashboard in a way that doesn’t hinder the driver’s view of the road. Drivers are only allowed to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device with a single swipe or tap and cannot do that while holding the device. This expands on a law that already bans texting while driving.

Child Safety Law

Another new law will extend the mandated use of rear-facing seats from the current 1-year-old requirement to 2-years old at the start of 2017. Children taller than 40 inches or weighing more than 40 pounds will be exempt.

And please be reminded that existing law requires children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat. Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height must be secured by a safety belt.

Powdered Alcohol

Booze in a powdered form (yep, that’s a real thing) will be illegal to possess, sell, make or use, per SB 819. Powdered alcohol includes spirits, liquor, wine, beer and every other liquid that can be combined with water or any other liquid, but it does not include vaporized alcohol. Click here to read the law.

Ride Sharing

AB 1289 requires drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to undergo more extensive background checks. Individuals will not be eligible to drive if registered as a sex offender or convicted of driving under the influence or violent felonies, including domestic violence.

Vehicle Registration Fee

SB 838 increases the vehicle registration fee on every vehicle or trailer coach from $43 to $53 beginning April 1.

Traffic on Sand Hill Road during rush hour by Linda Hubbard (c) 2017

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