New Rules of the Road in 2008

The Rules of the Road, as the Auto Club calls them, will change in the new year. Here are some of the changes as of January 1, 2008:

Assembly Bill 808 requires applicants for a driver’s license or license renewal to sign a declaration that states if they drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and someone is killed as a result, they can be charged with murder. This allows a prosecutor, according to the Auto Club, to have the option to charge a first-time offender with second degree murder in a fatal DUI case.

Prompted by street racing, Senate bill 67 broadens vehicle impound laws to allow law enforcement to seize a vehicle when arresting a driver for reckless driving, reckless driving in an off-street parking area or exhibition of speed.

Can teenagers talk on the phone and drive? That’s the common question behind two new laws. Senate Bill 33 prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from use of a cell phone or any other mobile service device, such as a BlackBerry, while driving. Senate Bill 1613 says drivers 18 years of age and older must use a hands-free device if they use a cell phone wile driving. These two cell phone laws go into effect July 1, 2008. So, there’s still time to comply.

Other laws will not allow persons charged with DUI or hit and to attend traffic school to obtain a clean record. Another law makes it illegal to smoke cigarettes, a cigar or a pipe in a motor vehicle where a minor is present. Violators can receive a fine of up to $100 per person.

Here’s another law that starts in July of 2008 and ends in 2016. You will pay more money to register a vehicle and take care of smog impacts. Consumers can expect to pay from $3 to $11 more. The money will supposedly go for research and development of alternative fuels.

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