The new year ushers in a handful of new laws for California motorists. The following laws take effect January 1, 2018, unless otherwise noted:
Cannabis Use in Vehicles: Prohibits smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle.
Disabled Person Parking Placards and Plates: Changes the Disabled Person Parking Placard and Disabled Person License Plate Program by requiring applicants to provide proof of true full name and birth date. It also limits the number of replacement disabled person parking placards an applicant can request without obtaining a medical certification to four in two years.
Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program: Requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to begin collecting a Transportation Improvement Fee ranging from $25 to $175 depending on a vehicle's current value at the time of the vehicle's registration or renewal.
Motorcycle Training Courses: Authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to accept a certificate of satisfactory completion of any motorcycle-training program approved by the California Highway Patrol in lieu of the required motorcycle skills test.
Buses and Seat Belts (effective July 1, 2018): Requires a passenger on a bus equipped with seat belts to be properly restrained by a safety belt.
DUI-Passenger for Hire (effective July 1, 2018): Makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
HOV Decal Program (effective January 1, 2019): Creates a new decal program to allow certain low-emission vehicles to access high-occupancy vehicle lanes, regardless of vehicle occupancy level, for a four-year term. Access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes for vehicles with green and white decals will expire January 1, 2019. Vehicles issued a green or white decal in 2017 or 2018 will be eligible to reapply for a decal in 2019.