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New DMV laws for 2019

With the New Year just around the corner, there are some DMV laws that everyone needs to be made aware of before they become effective Jan. 1.

The first one authorizes California dealers must place a paper plate with a number and expiration date on every vehicle they sell. The reason for this is to reduce the number of offenders passing through payment booths and improve road safety.

Secondly, people who apply for a new driver’s license or identification card, a new gender identity is being made available for those who desire to choose the “no binary” option, which means they will receive a license with an “X” gender category.

In order to decrease the number of repeat offenders of DUIs, or even those who receive their first driving under-the-influence offense and have caused an injury, a Breathalyzer on the engine ignition for a period of 12 to 48 months will be required. The regulations apply to DUI infractions involving alcohol or the combined use of alcohol and drugs.

Additionally, the exemption from smog verification for vehicles that have been purchased new will extend from six to eight years. During the two years of this exemption, the vehicle owner will not have to do the smog check, but will have to pay $25. The charge of $20 during the first six years of exemption to verify smog will continue.

Minors are also affected by the new laws. Younger drivers will not have their license suspended, restricted or delayed by the courts for truancy or for being under the guardianship of the state. Suspensions that were reported to DMV prior to Jan. 1, 2019, will remain in effect.

Also, those over 18 years old will not need to use a bicycle helmet to use a motorized scooter. The law also amends the existing law that prohibits a person from using a motorized scooter on a highway that has a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour, unless it’s on a special Class IV bikeway as well as Class II.

On a written test, DMV must include at least one question about unsafe or unattached loads on vehicles. This pertains to the criminal offense of abandoning or dumping any animal.

For those that purchased low-emission vehicles, the green-and-white decals will be valid until Jan. 1, 2019. DMV created a new ticker program to allow certain low-polluting vehicles to travel in High Occupancy Vehicle lanes regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle for a period of four years. Vehicles that received a green or white decal between Jan. 1, 2017, and March 1, 2018 will be eligible to request a red decal and will give them access to the HOV lanes until Jan. 1, 2022. DMV will also issue light violet-color decals in 2019 that will grant access to HOV lanes until Jan. 1, 2023.

Finally, passing waste service vehicles will get about the same protection as school busses with their red lights blinking. Drivers approaching a waste collection truck with its amber lights flashing must now move into an adjacent lane, if possible, and pass at a safe distance. If you can’t change lanes, you must slow to a safe and reasonable speed. This is mostly to protect sanitation workers.


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