Starting on January 1, 2017, new driving laws and regulations will come into effect. With the help of our senior auto insurance manager at KCAL Insurance Agency, we are here to discuss five major changes!
1. Use of Wireless Electronic Devices in Vehicles
Drivers cannot hold a wireless device while driving a vehicle. The device must be mounted in a place that does not obstruct the driver’s view of the road. The driver is allowed to make a single swipe or tap motion but not while holding the wireless device. The fine for the first violation is $20, followed by $50 for each following violation. If you get a driving ticket from distracted driving, not only will the fines be expensive, but your auto insurance premiums may also increase.
2. Accident Reporting
Starting on January 1, 2017, when a driver is involved in a vehicle collision, the minimum financial threshold for property damage that is required to be reported to the DMV is $1000 (previously $750). If the driver does not report to the DMV within 10 days or fails to provide proof of financial responsibility, the DMV may suspend the driver’s license. Suspensions can go from 3 months to 1 year depending on how serious the offense is.
As we all know, when you get into a car accident, you need to make insurance claims. KCAL Insurance Agency would like to remind you of three things:
(1) Regardless of who is responsible, it is important to report the situation to your auto insurance company or agent.
(2) If you have damages of $1000 or more, you must report it to the DMV.
(3) The insurance company will send the relevant documents to you including the Claim Case Number and the SR-1 form. Many people may not know what the SR-1 form is or how to deal with it. At KCAL Insurance Agency, we have the SR-1 form in Chinese for your reference, so please feel free to check it out!
3. Motorcycles: Lane Splitting
Lane splitting done by a motorcyclist is legal if done safely. If you are confused about the new regulations, you may want to increase your liability insurance to prevent any future issues.
4. Driving Under the Influence: Ignition Interlock Device
This law requires a DUI offender to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle for a certain time period to get a restricted driver’s license or to reinstate their license. The device requires the driver to pass the breathalyzer test so that the blood alcohol concentration is within limits for the engine to start. As of now, only four counties require vehicles to be equipped with an IID, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, and Tulare County. The law extends the current four-county DUI IID pilot program before it becomes statewide on January 1, 2019.
As a reminder, DUIs can stay on your record for ten years and not only will it affect your car insurance premiums, but it can also hurt your chances at a job when future employers do a background check on you!
5. Child Safety Seats
Starting in 2017, a child who is younger than 2 years old must be properly secured in an appropriate rear-facing child passenger restraint system unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches in height (3 feet, 3 inches). The law also requires children under 8 years of age to have five-point seat belts.
At KCAL Insurance Agency, we would like to remind you that the safest place for children under 13 years of age is the back seat. The airbags in the front might not be able to protect the children because they might not reach that far. A lot of parents hold their children on their laps, but an experiment showed that for a 22-pound baby at a speed of 40 miles (64km), 30 times the momentum is produced which is equivalent to 660 pounds (299kg) of power. In this case, the parents will not be able to hold and protect the child. So as a final reminder, even if your baby is crying, screaming, or throwing a fit, please do not hold your child in your arms and on your lap while you are driving!