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New California Traffic Laws Go Into Effect January 1, 2021

January 6, 2021 Auto Accidents

New traffic laws went into effect in California on the first day of 2021. Most of this year’s changes amend

New traffic laws went into effect in California on the first day of 2021. Most of this year’s changes amend or expand existing state traffic laws.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a major cause of collisions. As of 2021, anyone caught texting or talking on a cellphone more than once during a three-year period receives a point on their license. Hands-free technology is not affected. By law, a driver cannot hold a cellphone while driving.

While a distracted driving citation involves fines, it does not add points to the driver’s license. This second offense with 36 months changes that. Accumulate at least four points within a 12-month period, or six points or more in 24 months, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) considers you a negligent driver. Auto insurance rates will likely rise, and the DMV may refuse to renew the driver’s license.

Move Over Law

Before this year, drivers were only required to move over for emergency vehicles or road maintenance crews if they were on a freeway. Now, the Move Over Law extends to any type of roadway.

Working on a road crew poses various dangers. Getting struck by a vehicle that failed to slow down or move over in the construction area is among the worst.

Civil Liability Protection

New legislation protects a person from civil liability in the event they break open a car’s window to rescue a child. Protection from civil liability when coming to another’s aid is known as a Good Samaritan law. The new law also prevents the person from facing criminal charges for breaking into the car.

For instance, someone spotting a child under age 6 alone in a closed vehicle on a hot day can break open the car window to save a youngster in distress from heatstroke. They are free from liability for breaking the window if the child’s life was in danger. There is already a law in place mandating criminal penalties for anyone leaving young children unattended in vehicles. The law already exempts those rescuing an animal locked in a very hot or very cold car from civil and criminal penalties.

New Emergency Vehicle Warning Sound

When drivers hear a siren, they know an emergency vehicle is in their midst and respond accordingly. As of this year, emergency vehicles may use a “hi-lo” warning sound rather than a siren. The actual sound is not yet standardized statewide, but the CHP is currently working on this standardization.

Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney

Distracted driving and failure to move over for an emergency vehicle or road crew can result in serious injury or death. If you or someone you know were injured by a distracted driver, seek legal advice as soon as possible.  A Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Salamati Law will review your claim and let you know your options. Fill out our online form or call or text us 24/7 to arrange a free consultation.

Because we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation.

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