California Department of Motor Vehicles Announces New Traffic Laws

  • Dec 31 2018

At, we are committed to helping our clients fight traffic tickets, avoid or minimize penalties, and reduce points on their driving record. With the new year upon us, it is important to be aware of new traffic laws going into effect as of Jan. 1, 2019.

The California DMV recently issued a memorandum reminding drivers of pending changes to the state’s traffic laws. These include:

  • Temporary License Plates (AB 516) — Authorized dealers of new and used vehicles are required to attach temporary paper license plates on every vehicle sold that does not display previously issued DMV plates. The temporary plates are designed to reduce the number of toll violations and improve road safety.
  • Gender Identity (SB 179) — Applicants for a drivers license or identity card have the option to select their own gender, female, male or non-binary. Those who select “nonbinary” will receive a card with an “X” gender category.
  • Driving Under the Influence/Ignition Interlock Device (SB 1046) — Repeat offenders for driving under the influence or first DUI offenders whose violation results in an injury must  install an ignition interlock device for a period of 12 to 48 months. The requirement applies to DUI violations for alcohol use or combined alcohol and drug use, but does not apply to drug only violations.
  • Smog Check Changes and New Abatement Fees (AB 1274) — The smog check exemption for new vehicles is being raised to eight model years from the current exemption of six model years. During the additional two years of exemption, vehicle owners will pay an annual $25 smog abatement fee, but the current annual $20 fee for the first six years  remains the same.
  • Driving Privileges for Minors (AB 2685) Juvenile courts will no longer be able to suspend, restrict, or delay the issuance of a minor’s driver’s license for one year for habitual truancy or for being a ward of the state. Suspensions or delays reported prior to Jan. 1, 2019  remain in effect, however.
  • Motorized Scooters (AB 2989) — Motorized scooter riders who are 18 or older will no longer be required to use a bicycle helmet. In addition, individuals are prohibted from operating a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour, unless it is on both a Class IV and Class II bikeway.
  • Unsafe/Unsecured Loads on Vehicles (AB 1925) — The DMV must include at least one question in at least 20 percent of knowledge tests (written exams) about the state’s unsecured load code. In sum, all vehicle loads (e.g.  ladders, buckets and other loose items) must be covered or secured.
  • Passing Waste Service Vehicles (AB 2115) — Drivers approaching a waste collection truck with its amber lights flashing must move into an adjacent lane, if possible, and pass at a safe distance, or slow to a safe and reasonable speed if moving is not possible.

Why This Matters

All drivers in California have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner and to know and abide by applicable traffic laws. If you receive a traffic ticket in 2019 for an existing or new traffic violation, you should consult We have a well-earned reputation for successfully fighting traffic tickets and protecting our clients’ driving privileges.

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