New traffic laws are passed each year. As a driver, you need to stay atop them to make sure you don’t violate any of them inadvertently. Ignorance of the new rules is not a qualified defense against them if you get pulled over or handed a citation. California passed a handful of new traffic laws in 2021, which we will be reviewing here.
The new California traffic laws you should know are:
- Emergency vehicle response: When an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road and has its lights flashing, approaching drivers to need to slow down and/or change lanes. The decision should be made based on current road conditions. If it is safe to change lanes, then the driver should, and then slow down. If it is not safe to change lanes, then the driver still needs to slow down to avoid hitting an emergency responder.
- Emergency assistance for children in danger: When a motorist or passerby noticed an unattended child inside a vehicle and that child might be in immediate danger, they can break or otherwise damage parts of the car to help without risk of criminal liability. For example, if you found an unattended child inside a car during a California heatwave, then you should call 911 and then determine if you should break a window to extract the child before they are injured.
- Additional cellphone use penalties: When a driver is pulled over and cited for using a cellphone while driving, points can be added to their record if they had previously been convicted of the same offense. Under the language of the law, a driver cannot use a smartphone or similar device “in a handheld manner.”
- Evacuation sirens: If an area needs to be evacuated immediately, then emergency responder vehicles can use a new “Hi-Lo” siren sound that is unique from the typical siren noises. For example, if there is a wildfire rushing towards a town that needs to be evacuated at that moment, then the new siren sound would be used to underline the danger of the situation.
- Veteran license plates: Although this next change does not affect the rules of the road, it is worth reporting because it has created benefits for military veterans. The DMV now allows U.S. veterans to get unique license plates and disabled driver parking placards after verification from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, instead of from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The unique placards should be easier for many veterans to obtain.
For more important news and updates about driving laws and safety, be sure to visit our blog often. If you need help in Los Angeles with a car accident case or personal injury claim, then please contact Omega Law Group Injury & Accident Attorneys online.