SACRAMENTO, Calif. – New laws approved by the Legislature in 2017 address many aspects of highway safety, including cannabis consumption, seat belts on buses, and other issues. To support its mission of providing the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is highlighting several of these new laws.
Alcohol and marijuana in vehicles (SB 65, Hill): Smoking or ingesting cannabis while driving or riding in a vehicle is prohibited. This is consistent with current law prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
Administration of cannabis laws in California (SB 94): Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review): This bill establishes a single system of administration for cannabis laws in California. Among its many provisions is an appropriation of $3 million for the CHP to train state and local law enforcement officers in drug recognition and impairment. SB 94 also prohibits the possession of an open container of cannabis or cannabis product when operating a motor vehicle. An Impaired Driving Task Force, led by the CHP Commissioner, was created to develop recommendations regarding the best practices, protocols, legislation, and policies to address driving under the influence (DUI) of cannabis and controlled substances. Law enforcement anticipates an increase in DUI resulting from the legalization of recreational cannabis. SB 94 went into effect on June 27, 2017.
Pedestrian crossing signals (AB 390, Santiago): This bill permits a pedestrian to begin crossing an intersection while facing a traffic signal displaying a flashing “DON’T WALK” or “Upraised Hand” symbol if the traffic signal includes a countdown timer and the pedestrian can complete the crossing before the traffic signal phases to a steady “DON’T WALK” or “Upraised Hand.” The intent of this law is to provide clear standards for pedestrian behavior at intersections controlled by traffic control signals and countdown timers.
Seat belts on buses (SB 20, Hill): Effective July 1, 2018, the driver and passengers of a tour bus are required to be properly restrained by seat belts if the bus is so equipped. Passengers will be allowed to move about the cabin of the bus to use onboard facilities. The operator of the tour bus will be required to ensure that the seat belts are in good working order and inform passengers of the legal requirement to wear a seat belt. School buses and transit buses are excluded from this bill.