Here's what Bay Area drivers need to know.
Car accidents are a major concern in California due to congested roadways, various terrain, and human error. To help address roadway safety concerns throughout the state, California officials are ringing in the new year with new traffic laws.
Want to know what's in store for 2024 in California? Below, you'll find details on the state's new traffic laws and what they mean for your safety.
AB 413 - Stopping, standing, and parking
AB 413 is one of the most important new traffic laws regulating vehicle parking and stopping. This aims to improve pedestrian safety and traffic management in urban and suburban areas. It amends Section 22500 of the Vehicle Code concerning stopping, standing, and parking of vehicles. This bipartisan bill became a statute on October 10, 2023.
The bill specifically prohibits the stopping, standing, or parking of a vehicle within 20 feet of any marked or unmarked crosswalk. It prohibits parking:
- Within an intersection.
- On sidewalks or crosswalks.
- Within 15 feet of a fire station driveway.
- In front of public or private driveways.
Additionally, the bill permits local jurisdictions to enforce parking restrictions in certain areas at specified times and for specific reasons. This includes the establishment of metered parking zones. It also allows local authorities to authorize buses and taxicabs to stop in unmarked crosswalks for passenger loading and unloading, under certain conditions.
AB 436 - Local Enforcement of the Vehicle Code
AB 436 amends Section 21100 and repeals Section 24008 of the Vehicle Code, impacting local authority powers and vehicle modification laws. It prevents cities and counties from enacting laws that prohibit cruising or driving vehicles modified for a specific height on city streets.
Previously, local authorities were restricted from enacting or enforcing ordinances on matters covered by the Vehicle Code unless explicitly permitted. This includes cruising, which the law defines as repetitive driving past a traffic control point in congested traffic. This change implies that local authorities will no longer regulate cruising as they previously could.
Moreover, the bill repeals an existing law that made it unlawful to operate vehicles (both passenger and commercial under 6,000 pounds) modified from their original design in a way that reduces clearance from the surface of a level roadway. This repeal allows for more freedom in vehicle modifications.
AB 645 - Speed Safety System Pilot Program
AB 645, also known as Chapter 808, enhances traffic safety through a Speed Safety System Pilot Program. This bill, which became law on October 13, 2023, focuses on deploying automated systems for speed enforcement in specific California cities.
The key aspects of AB 645 include:
- Pilot program authorization: The bill authorizes certain cities to establish a Speed Safety System Pilot Program until January 1, 2032. This includes Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Glendale, Long Beach, and the City and County of San Francisco. These systems must meet specified requirements to ensure effectiveness and fairness.
- Program requirements: Cities participating in the program must adopt a Speed Safety System Use Policy and Impact Report before implementation. They must also conduct a public information campaign and provide details about the program's operation and locations of the systems.
- Initial warning notices: For the first 60 days of the program, cities must issue warnings instead of violation notices for detected speed infractions.
- Data confidentiality and use: The bill emphasizes the confidentiality of photographic and administrative records generated by the speed safety systems. It restricts the use and access of these records to specific purposes related to traffic enforcement and program assessment.
- Civil penalties: Speed law violations detected by these systems are subject to civil penalties. The bill also mandates the creation of a diversion program for indigent violators, offering alternatives such as community service or payment plans.
- Evaluation and reporting: Cities involved in the pilot program must submit a report evaluating the impact of the speed safety systems on street safety and community economics. This includes analyzing data on traffic violations, accidents, and system costs and revenues.
AB 1909 - Bicycle omnibus bill
AB 1909, known as the "Bicycle Omnibus Bill," became approved and chaptered in California in September 2022. It amends various sections of the Vehicle Code, specifically impacting bicycle-related laws.
Key provisions of the bill include:
- Electric bicycles on trails: The bill modifies existing regulations on electric bicycles. Previously, California law prohibited class 3 electric bicycles on bicycle paths, trails, bikeways, equestrian trails, and recreational trails. Now, this prohibition is lifted. This provision gives local authorities the discretion to regulate the operation of electric bicycles of any class on equestrian and recreational trails. Additionally, the Department of Parks and Recreation is authorized to regulate electric bicycle usage on bicycle paths and trails under its jurisdiction.
- Bicycle traffic signals: Effective January 1, 2024, bicycles are granted the same authorization as pedestrians to cross intersections in response to pedestrian control signals, unless a specific bicycle control signal directs otherwise.
- Safe passing of bicycles: A vehicle overtaking a bicycle must change lanes if an adjacent lane is available. That's in addition to maintaining a safe distance of no less than three feet if it's necessary to pass in the same lane.
- Bicycle licensing regulations: The bill prohibits local jurisdictions from requiring bicycles to be licensed. It reverses previous local powers to mandate bicycle licensing.
Injured in a Bay Area crash? Contact a car accident lawyer from our law firm today
If you or a loved one was injured in a traffic collision in the greater Bay Area, the legal team at Clancy & Diaz, LLP can help. We would be glad to hear your story and learn about the details of your collision and injuries. Our attorneys know how to investigate traffic accidents, deal with insurance companies, and negotiate for fair compensation.
Contact us online for a free legal consultation. You can also call our law offices in Walnut Creek, Antioch, Pittsburg, and Benicia.