The California Department of Motor Vehicles reminds motorists of the new laws that took effect in January.
• Clean air vehicle decals/ high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane stickers. Assembly Bill 266 and Senate Bill 286 together extend sunset dates for low- and zero-emission vehicles to operate in HOV lanes without meeting occupancy requirements to Jan. 1, 2019.
• Commercial driver’s license. AB 1047 allows the DMV to conduct the commercial drive test for the holder of an out-of-state commercial learner’s permit. The department would electronically transfer the information to the DMV in the applicant’s state of residence. AB 1047 also modifies the license class definitions to require a driver operating a bus weighing more than 26,000 pounds to hold a commercial Class B license and a driver operating a bus weighing 26,000 pounds or less to hold a commercial Class C license.
• DMV Vehicle Registration Pilot Program. SB 806 authorizes the DMV to establish a pilot program to evaluate the use of alternatives to stickers, tabs, license plates and registration cards, subject to certain requirements. It also enables the DMV to experiment with electronic license plates and facilitates the department’s ability to explore cost-effective alternatives to California’s traditional metal license plates, plastic-coated registration stickers and paper registration cards.
• Registration and vehicle transfers between family members. AB 443 prohibits the transfer of ownership of a vehicle to a relative or a revocable living trust until all parking or toll-violation fines and penalties reported to the DMV are paid by the transferee.
• Restriction for teen drivers. SB 194 prohibits a person under age 18 from using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device.
• Veterans license plates. AB 244 requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs to sponsor a veterans’ special-interest license plate and requires the DMV to issue the veterans’ plate if CalVet meets the statutory requirements. The law creates, in addition to the current “Honoring Veterans” design of the Veteran’s Organization Plate, a new program to reissue the veteran design that was issued prior to Jan. 1, 2010. The plates are available to all vehicle owners. The Department of Veterans Affairs must secure 7,500 prepaid applications before the department can implement the plate program.