Auto Club Alerts Motorists About New Laws for 2024

In 2023, the California State Legislature approved several new laws of interest to drivers, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Unless otherwise noted, these measures took effect Jan. 1.

PARKING ADJACENT TO CROSSWALKS

Attempting to curtail California’s higher-than-national-average pedestrian fatality rate, Assembly Bill 413 generally prohibits a person from parking a vehicle within 20 feet of the vehicle-approach side of any crosswalk, a safety measure known as “daylighting.” A local authority can permit commercial vehicle loading or unloading within 20 feet of a crosswalk if it adopts an ordinance and uses appropriate signage or paint to mark the loading zone. Violators will receive a warning until January 1, 2025.

CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS

Three new Auto Club-supported laws were adopted to address catalytic converter thefts:

  • SB 55 generally prohibits a car dealer from selling any vehicle equipped with a catalytic converter unless the converter has been permanently marked with the vehicle’s VIN, though there are some specified exceptions.
  • AB 1519 makes it a misdemeanor to remove, alter, or obfuscate any VIN or other unique marking on a catalytic converter, or to possess 3 or more catalytic converters that have been so altered.
  • AB 641 redefines “automobile dismantler,” making it a misdemeanor for anyone other than a licensed automobile dismantler to possess 9 or more used catalytic converters that have been cut from a vehicle.

CRUISING

AB 436 repeals the existing law that allowed local governments to ban vehicular cruising. It also prohibits local governments from placing restrictions on cars that have been modified to be a certain height (i.e., lowriders). In 1982, the legislature permitted cities to ban cruising, but critics argued that the law targeted certain groups. In 2022, the legislature adopted a resolution that encourages law enforcement to work with car clubs to conduct safe cruising events.

ELECTRIC BICYCLES

SB 381 requires the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University to conduct a study on electric bicycles to improve rider safety. The institute will identify best practices by analyzing data on injuries, crashes, emergency room visits, and deaths related to the use of electric and nonelectric bicycles.

SPEED CAMERAS

AB 645 authorizes an automated speed-enforcement pilot program in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco.

The new law allows the placement of speed detecting cameras in school zones; on streets with a high incidence of races and side shows; and on designated “safety corridors,” which are streets with the highest incidences of fatal and severe injury crashes.

Cameras are not authorized on freeways or expressways. Fines for violations escalate based on how much the speed limit is exceeded, ranging from $50 for 11–15 mph over the posted limit to $500 for exceeding 100 mph.

A public information program must be commenced for at least 30 days prior to implementation, and first violations will receive warnings for the first 60 days of enforcement if the violation is not more than 15 mph over the posted limit.

AIR QUALITY AND CLEAN TRANSPORTATION FEES

AB 126 extends the smog abatement fee ($8), alternative fuel and fleet modernization fee ($3), and vehicle identification fee ($5) until 2035 to help fund advanced transportation and fuel technologies. These fees are due at the time of registration. Owners pay the smog abatement fee through the eighth year of registration. After that, vehicles are required to pass a smog check every 2 years. However, a smog check is still required in other circumstances, such as a sale, transfer of ownership, or initial registration of an out-of-state vehicle.

Image Sources

  • Motorcycle cops: Automobile Club of Southern California