Californians Must Be Aware Of New Traffic Safety Laws In 2021
Every year brings new changes to California law. As in past years, 2021 will bring new traffic laws, and California drivers must be aware of them to avoid fines and administrative fees.
Most importantly, these safety rules can help prevent the accidents that injure and kill thousands of victims on California’s roads every year.
2021 has already started as a difficult year. Many California families are still struggling to stay healthy, stay safe from the coronavirus spread, and keep the bills paid during a time of economic devastation.
As challenging as this year will be, drivers cannot allow themselves to be distracted while driving. Follow all traffic safety rules – including these new laws that will take effect throughout the year.
In the unfortunate event that you suffer injuries in an accident, call us today to speak with a California car accident lawyer.
License Points For Distracted Driving
Drivers who use a handheld wireless device while driving are currently subject to a fine. Starting on July 1, 2021, however, multiple infractions can also result in points against a driver’s license. The driver will receive a point if they have had a conviction for handheld use of a wireless device while driving within 36 months of the second offense. This penalty is due to a change enacted in Assembly Bill 47.
“Using a device” includes talking or texting while driving or even using apps that distract the driver from the road. The law also applies to the use of wireless devices by a person under eighteen years of age while driving. The law allows people to use their wireless devices in hands-free mode and makes exceptions for emergency circumstances.
The added sanction of points on a driver’s license is an important safety measure intended to deter texting while driving. Texting and driving is a highly dangerous behavior that costs lives. The California Office of Traffic Safety reports that distracted drivers killed more than three thousand victims in the United States in 2017. Far more were injured, and some suffered permanent disabilities. Drivers must understand the very real consequences of their actions when they choose to text and drive.
Unattended Children In Motor Vehicles
In the warm California sunshine, cars’ interior can quickly rise into the triple digits, potentially harming children left inside. Assembly Bill 2717 protects those who attempt to rescue a child who is six years old or younger and is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or other dangerous circumstances. These rescuers are exempt from civil or criminal liability for trespassing or damaging a vehicle.
This exemption means that they cannot be convicted for trespass, property damage, or other crimes. The vehicle owner may also not file a civil lawsuit for trespass, damage to the vehicle, or other monetary losses. So long as the rescuer was acting as required by the statute, their actions are protected. This law took effect on January 1, 2021.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatalities related to parents leaving children in cars have increased in recent years. NHTSA also reports that most of these deaths (54 percent) occur because someone forgets a child in the car.
Nearly 75 percent of these forgotten children are under two years old. With these tragic statistics, it is not surprising that lawmakers want to encourage rescuers to prevent hot car deaths whenever possible. You should always call 911 and ask how to proceed if you see an unattended child in a hot (or cold) vehicle.
“Move Over, Slow Down” Amendments
Assembly Bill 2285 extends the provisions of the current “Move Over, Slow Down” law currently in place. As of January 1, 2021, California drivers must move over and slow down when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights, including tow trucks and Caltrans vehicles. The law now applies to local streets and roads in addition to freeways. Drivers must move to another lane when possible or slow to a reasonable speed when they approach a stationary emergency vehicle on any public road in California.
California law allows the California Highway Patrol to set the sirens used on emergency vehicles in our state. However, the law prohibited a specific type of sound known as “Hi-Lo,” and sirens manufactured after 1978 must have this tone disabled. The “Hi-Lo” is not a siren. It is a distinct series of high and low tones. Because it is different, authorities can use it to alert the public to different types of emergencies.
Senate Bill 909 allows emergency personnel to use the tone or the sole purpose of alerting residents of the need to evacuate an area. This ability will be a critical safety measure to those in the danger zone from California’s many devastating wildfires. The noise will also alert drivers in the area that there is an emergency vehicle nearby.
Using the tone in this way is a critical safety measure, as hazy wildfires can make it difficult for drivers to see. The law went into effect on September 29, 2020. That means the Hi-Lo tones are already in use, so drivers should be alert for this new sound and understand what it means.
Call Us Today To Speak With A California Car Accident Lawyer
Despite these new safety laws, accidents will continue to happen on roads all across California. Injury victims have the legal right to compensation for their losses.
At Arash Law, our skilled accident lawyers have decades of experience and know-how to handle all types of auto accident cases. We serve clients in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California.
We have collected over 200 million dollars for clients across the state. Call (888) 488-1391 or contact us to schedule your free consultation. Injury victims throughout California trust our team to protect their legal rights after car accidents, and we will fight hard for you, too.