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New California Driving Laws in 2022: What You Need to Know

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Each year, new California traffic laws are set to be enacted, which drivers need to be aware of. Some changes may be minor, but others are more extensive and could have a potentially negative effect on uninformed drivers. From the perspective of law enforcement, not being aware of new legislation is never an excuse to not follow a law. This is why it’s critical to stay up-to-date on the new California driving laws going into effect each year.

When do driving law changes take effect?

The majority of 2022 laws listed in this article (with the exception of AB 47) were signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in the last legislative session of 2021, and took effect January 1st, 2022. It’s important for drivers in any state to follow the updates provided by state law enforcement agencies, such as the California Highway Patrol, in order to stay informed on updates to local transportation legislation. Presently, there are three new 2022 California traffic laws to highlight, as well as a California law that took effect in the second half of 2021.

AB 974: A New Addition to California Horse Laws

New motor vehicle laws in California are not the only type of traffic laws going into effect in 2022. AB 974 is a new bill that requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding a horse, mule, or donkey on a paved highway. The new law also stipulates that both the equine and rider (regardless of age) must wear reflective gear if they are riding after dark. Violators could face a fine up to $25. With AB 974, it’s important to note that the bill includes an exemption for those riding equestrian animals during a parade or festival.

AB 3: Defining “Sideshow” and Increasing Penalties

California 1 South sign - new California driving laws in 2022 to know

This is one of the more important new California laws for cars in 2022 that drivers should know. A key point of this bill is that it officially provides a definition of “sideshow” for law enforcement to use. AB 3 defines a sideshow as: “an event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway, for the purpose of performing motor vehicle students, motor vehicle speed contents, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving, for spectators.”  

In addition, this bill also increases the penalties for participating in such offenses, including a license suspension for up to 6 months. However, that aspect of this new rule for California drivers does not take effect until July 1st, 2025.  

AB 798: Tribal Emergency Vehicles

This is a unique bill among the driving law changes in 2022 as it only applies to Federally recognized Native American tribes in the state of California. The bill removes restrictions on the ambulances owned and operated by tribal fire departments. Previously, these had been treated as privately operated, but under AB 798, a vehicle owned or operated by a Federally recognized tribe is now considered an authorized emergency vehicle.

AB 47: License Points for Distracted Driving

This law went into effect in 2021 in the second half of the year, and some drivers may still not be aware of it. This particular bill adds strength to the existing California distracted driving law, which already makes it illegal to drive while using a handheld cell phone. AB 47, which took effect July 1st, 2021, increases the punishment for repeat offenders. As a result of the bill, if a driver is caught violating the hands-free law for a second time within a 36-month time period, a driver will see a point added to their driving record.

Finding a Personal Injury Attorney in California

Every new rule for California drivers is meant to keep people safe while on the road. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions of new California driving laws, traffic accidents will inevitably occur. Oftentimes, the complexities of the laws meant to keep people out of harm’s way end up standing in the way of the victims receiving rightful compensation for injuries. This is why it’s also important to find the right law firm to call in the event of injury.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a traffic accident, seeking the guidance of an experienced personal injury firm like Avrek Law is the first step toward receiving the compensation you deserve. Our team has more than 50 years of combined experience resolving cases in favor of clients who were wrongfully injured, and has recovered more than $1 billion recovered for injury victims in over 25,000 cases. View our locations and discover how our team works on a “No Win, No Fee” basis for our clients. We’re here to help – contact us for a free injury consultation to learn more!

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