Did you know that registration fees and personalized license plates are going to cost you more in 2017? Or that your Uber and Lyft rides are about to become a bit safer, due to background checks that will now be required? “These are just two of the new laws that go into effect on January 1, 2017,” says LA Car Editor-at-Large and traffic law expert, Reed Berry, otherwise known as “The Traffic Guy”.
Just as we are getting used to the new laws that took effect in 2016, it’s time to ring in a new year and take a look at the new California driving laws for 2017. Hundreds of new laws take effect each year, with a portion of them devoted to driver safety and driving-related matters.
“It doesn’t matter if you love them or hate them,” says Berry. “You just have to obey them because failure to do so may result in a costly ticket, not to mention to dangers associated with violating laws enacted in the interest of public safety. And while you can’t control the actions of others, you CAN control your own and by doing so, you will have a safer, happier and, hopefully, ticket-free year.”
Here is a summary of 10 new California driving laws for 2017 that you want to know about:

1. Child Car Seats
Effective January 1, 2017, children under two years of age must ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall.
2. Cell Phone Use
New law prohibits a driver from using a hand-held cell phone or wireless electronic communications device unless it is mounted on or attached to the vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console in a way that does not block the driver’s view of the road.
3. Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Another new law authorizes the CHP to develop educational guidelines related to “lane splitting” (motorcycles riding between rows of stopped or moving vehicles traveling in the same direction) to ensure the safety of motorcyclists, drivers and passengers.
4. Vehicle Registration Fee
Get ready to pay more when you’re vehicle registration comes due. At least for this law, it won’t go into effect until April 1, 2017.
5. Personalized License Plates
Cha-Ching! Those of you with personalized license plates will be paying more, as well. The fee for issuance of such plates increases, starting July 1, 2017, while the fee for the renewal, retention, transfer, or duplication of personalized plates increases effective January 1, 2017.
6. Accident Reporting
For quite some time, the law required that you report any motor vehicle collision in which you were involved if the damage was $750 or more. New law raises the threshold to $1,000.
7. Installing Counterfeit or Nonfunctional Air Bags
This new law prohibits knowingly and intentionally manufacturing, importing, installing, reinstalling, distributing, or selling any device intended to replace an air bag system in any motor vehicle if the device is a counterfeit or nonfunctional air bag system, or does not meet federal safety requirements.
8. Vehicle Safety Recalls
This law enacts the Consumer Automotive Recall Safety (CARS) Act, and requires the DMV to include a general advisory regarding vehicle recalls and needed repairs on each vehicle registration renewal notice.
9. Background Checks of Drivers for Uber, Lyft, etc.
Your Uber and Lyft rides are about to become a bit safer. A transportation network company (TNC) will be required to perform a comprehensive background check of all their drivers.
10. Year of Manfacture License Plates
This law expands the Year of Manufacture (YOM) license plate program to include vehicles and license plates manufactured through 1980. This law benefits owners of vintage motor vehicles who obtain license plates from the year corresponding to the vehicle’s model-year, and wish to use those vintage plates in lieu of regular license plates.
For additional information on California law, go to “New California Driving Laws for 2017” www.lacar.com