During the course of a year, the California legislature passes numerous laws that concern motor vehicles. These new laws go into effect today, and the state Department of Motor Vehicles in Mountain View has information on the changes.
Here are some of the new laws affecting motorists in 1997 you may not be familiar with:
All drivers must show proof of insurance to police officers, on demand when they are stopped for a traffic violation or are involved in a traffic accident. California's mandatory vehicle liability insurance law gets new teeth when two new provisions go into force.
The first requires motorists to show evidence they have liability insurance to a peace officer if they are stopped for a traffic violation. Current law only requires evidence of coverage when a motorist is involved in an accident.
The second provision requires motorists to file evidence of liability insurance coverage when they renew their vehicle registration. The law, AB650, covers autos, motorcycles and commercial vehicles.
Beginning today, all vehicle registration billing notices will include instructions on how to comply with the law. Usually it means filing an insurance identification card issued by the insurance company. Providing a photocopy to the DMV is suggested, and the original should be carried in the vehicle.
Because notices are sent out three months in advance, the requirement to provide insurance coverage information for vehicle registration will apply to vehicles with registrations that expire March 30, 1997, or later. Officials suggest that motorists keep a current evidence of coverage document in the vehicles at all times.
A first-time conviction for driving without insurance will cost at least $1,350, consisting of a minimum $500 fine and $850 in mandatory penalty assessments imposed by the courts. Subsequent violations will double that amount.
Your personal driver's license will be good for five years instead of four beginning in 1997. New or renewed licenses will be affected and the fee for the license will increase from $12 to $15 starting Jan. 1.
When applying for a disabled parking placard, the applicant must provide a physician's or surgeon's certificate substantiating and fully describing the illness or disability.
A new law effective today makes a conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license for refusing a DUI chemical test a two-point count violation on the driver's record.
Senate Bill 1717 requires the department to issue a 90-day temporary license to legal non-immigrant alien applicants who successfully complete license application requirements.
Assembly bill 1383 provides funding for the DMV to make information available on its Internet web site that will assist consumers. Information on the new provisions of the law are available at the DMV Internet site at http://www.dmv.ca.gov