As we head into the new year, the California Highway Patrol is educating the public on traffic safety laws that were passed during this year’s legislative season and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The laws take effect Jan. 1, 2023, unless otherwise noted.
Public Employment: Peace Officers: Citizenship (Senate Bill (SB) 960, Skinner)
The law maintains that peace officers, including peace officer trainees, be legally authorized to work in the United States consistent with federal law and regulations, however, removes the requirement that they be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Catalytic Converters (SB 1087, Gonzalez) (Assembly Bill (AB) 1740, Muratsuchi)
These laws specifically list who can sell catalytic converters to recyclers and require those recyclers to keep documentation such as the year, make, model, and copy of the vehicle title from which the catalytic converter was removed. The purpose of these laws is to help reduce catalytic converter theft.
Vehicular Manslaughter: Speeding and Reckless Driving (SB 1472, Stern)
This law expands the criteria for “gross negligence” as it relates to the crime of vehicular manslaughter. Drivers involved in sideshow activity, exhibition of speed, or speeding over 100 miles per hour which results in a fatality could now be charged with Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence.
Motor Vehicle Speed Contests and Exhibitions of Speed (AB 2000, Gabriel)
Parking lots and off-street parking facilities are now included as locations where it is a crime to engage in a speed contest, exhibition of speed, or sideshow activity.
Endangered Missing Advisory: Feather Alert (AB 1314, Ramos)
The new “Feather Alert” allows law enforcement agencies to request the CHP to initiate an alert when an indigenous person has been kidnapped, abducted, or reported missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances and specific criteria has been met to permit alert activation. Additionally, consistent with the Department’s existing AMBER, Blue and Silver Alert programs, this new “Feather Alert” program encourages the use of radio, television and social media to spread the information about the missing indigenous person.
Hit-and-Run Incidents: Yellow Alert (AB 1732, Patterson)
This law authorizes law enforcement agencies to request the CHP to activate a “Yellow Alert” when a fatal hit-and-run crash has occurred and specific criteria has been met to permit alert activation. The law also encourages local media outlets to disseminate the information contained in a Yellow Alert. The new law serves to use the public’s assistance to improve the investigatory ability for law enforcement agencies throughout the state when working to solve fatal hit-and-run crashes.
Online Marketplaces: Reporting (AB 1700, Maienschein)
This law requires the Attorney General’s Office to create an online reporting system for users of third-party online marketplaces to report listings of suspected stolen items. The reported information would be available to local law enforcement and the CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force to assist with investigations.
Bicycles Omnibus Bill (AB 1909, Friedman)
Much like the move over or slow down law, this law provides for increased protections to bicyclists by requiring vehicles passing or overtaking a bicycle in the same direction, to move over to an adjacent lane of traffic, if one is available, or slow down and only pass the bicyclist when safe to do so. The law also permits Class 3 e-bike riders to use approved bicycle paths and trails, bikeways and bicycle lanes. The law prohibits local governments from requiring bicycle registration and allows local authorities to prohibit any electric bicycle on an equestrian, hiking or other recreational trail.
Electric Bicycles: Safety and Training Program (AB 1946, Boerner Horvath)
This requires the CHP to work with other traffic safety stakeholders such as the California Office of Traffic Safety, to develop statewide safety and training programs for electric bicycles. This training program, which will consist of electric bicycle riding safety, emergency maneuver skills, rules of the road and laws pertaining to electric bicycles, will launch on the CHP’s website in September 2023.
Pedestrians (AB 2147, Ting)
This law prohibits peace officers from stopping pedestrians for certain pedestrian-specific violations, such as crossing the road outside of a crosswalk, unless there is an immediate danger of a crash.
The CHP reminds all road users of the responsibility to travel safely and look out for one another on the road.