New Traffic-Safety Laws in California

By Anthony Saude

California – In case you were unaware several new traffic-safety related laws were implemented in California on July 1. The new laws will primarily impact drivers for hire, buses and private carriers.

The first is a new law requires all bus passengers to wear seat belts in buses that equipped with those safety restraints.

Under Senate Bill 20, children between the ages of 8 and 15, riding a bus will now be required to be in an appropriate restraint, such as a seat belt, that complies with federal safety regulations.

The DMV is convinced this law will contribute greatly to reducing highway deaths and injuries as a result of large bus crashes. By requiring the use of seatbelts on motor coaches and large buses, and requiring bus operators to inform passengers of the seatbelt requirement the number of deaths will be reduced in these types of accidents.

Anyone who is in violation of the law will face a possible fine.

Assembly Bill 2687 changed the DUI threshold for drivers who transport passengers for hire, such as those who use ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.

This new law essentially prohibits any driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.04 to transport a paying passenger. The previous legal BAC level was 0.08.

The DMV wants to ensure the public understands drivers of passengers for hire will be held to a higher standard of safety while transporting people.

Under the law, a person’s driver license could be suspended by the DMV if a conviction is added to his or hers driving record.

Finally, Senate Bill 19 affects private carriers, which are defined as not-for-hire transportation services such as a church vans or employee shuttles.

Regulatory authority from the California Carriers of Passengers Program will now be the responsibility of DMV instead of the Public Utilities Commission.

The program will now be jointly administered by the DMV and California Highway Patrol; the DMV will issue certificates for intrastate authority and verify proof of liability insurance, while CHP will regulate compliance and ensure the safe operation of the affected vehicles.

The goal is to make sure that private carriers are operating in a safe manner while also maintaining adequate insurance coverage.