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New Traffic Laws Take Effect

Motorists in Los Banos and Ridgecrest recently rang in the New Year with champagne, soon-to-be-broken resolutions, a time-saving zip around a slow-moving bicycle, and one less earbud in the driver’s seat.

One new law extends the existing section regarding lane use to bicycles. Currently, bicycles are under no legal obligation to yield to faster-moving traffic. Starting January 1, if more than five vehicles are stacked behind a bicycle, the rider must use the next available exit or turnoff, or otherwise pull to the side as safely as possible.

Then, in a provision that snuck under the radar, the Legislature amended VC 23123.5 to restrict drivers to only one headphone or earbud when listening to an MP3 player, talking on a hands-free speakerphone, or using any similar device.

Other new laws govern police procedure following hit-and-run crashes, DUI ignition interlock devices, and “motor voter” registration, or voter registration that is linked to drivers’ licenses.

Cellphone Laws

This amendment is probably not the last one, because California’s cellphone law is difficult to enforce. VC 23123, the primary cellphone law, prohibits “listening and talking. . .while driving.” So, to obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the driver was on a call while the car was in motion. Unless the driver admits to this conduct, which many people do, despite their right to remain silent, a cellphone violation is nearly impossible to prove.

Some peace officers are equipped with call and text message detectors, which can be used in court to show that the device was being used illegally.

Lane Laws

The current “slowpoke law,” VC 22400, is difficult to enforce for the opposite reason. Instead of being too narrow, it is extremely broad and violations are almost exclusively subjective, according to the officer’s point of view.

This is another law that probably needs to be tweaked, in order to decrease speed variance and increase roadway safety.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.