California Highway Patrol Highlights New Transportation Laws

One applies to texting by drivers under 18, another extends the statute of limitations for hit-and-run collisions involving death or a permanent, serious injury.

A new law taking effect Jan. 1, 2014, in California prohibits drivers under 18 from using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while driving, even if the vehicle is equipped with a hands-free device. The California Highway Patrol posted information about this and several other new transportation-related laws.

By Jan. 1, 2016, any limousine that has been modified or extended to accommodate additional passengers must have two rear doors and one or two internally removable rear emergency windows. If such modifications occurred on or after July 2015, these requirements apply immediately after July 1, 2015. All new limousines manufactured after Jan. 1, 2015, must meet these requirements.

Another new California law extends the statute of limitations for hit-and-run collisions in which death or permanent, serious injury was a result. A criminal complaint may be filed within three years of the offense, or one year after the person is initially identified by law enforcement as a suspect in the commission of the offense, whichever comes later, but no more than six years after the offense.

Another new law prohibits motorists from passing a bicyclist with less than 3 feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its rider. When 3 feet is not possible, the motor vehicle must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and only pass when no danger is present to the bicyclist. This law goes into effect Sept. 16, 2014.

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