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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Jan 8, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Have you seen a copy of the California Vehicle Code? It's a huge book containing all the driving laws in California. Each year, this book gets even bigger because new laws are added and others are revised. During the 2005 legislative session, there were 95 changes to the California Vehicle Code for 2006. 'No need to explore all of them, but here are some highlights you may find both helpful and interesting. POCKET BIKES  A "pocket bike" (it looks like a motorcycle, only smaller) has now been defined as a two-wheeled motorized device that has a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, that is not designed or manufactured for highway use, but does not include an off-highway motorcycle. That being said, a new law prohibits the operation of a pocket bike on a sidewalk, roadway, or any other part of a highway, or on a bikeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian trail, hiking or recreational trail, or on public lands open to off-highway motor vehicle use. 'Guess they've covered just about everywhere you could possibly ride except your backyard and living room, so be aware that if you plan to buy one of these things, your enjoyment of it will be quite limited. If you operate it illegally, the new law allows law enforcement to impound your pocket bike. Manufacturers are required to affix a sticker to each pocket bike explaining these details to consumers. VEHICLE SALES The Car Buyers Bill of Rights (which takes effect July 1, 2006) is designed to protect consumers when buying new and used automobiles. Among the many provisions: · The law specifies conditions under which a used car may be referred to as certified. · Prohibits a dealer from adding goods or services to a conditional sales contract without previous disclosure to the buyer or to inflate the amount of the payment or extend the length of the contract to the disguise the addition of undisclosed products and/or services. · Requires a dealer to provide you with your credit score and information pertaining to your credit score, if they have obtained such information. · Prohibits a dealer from selling a used vehicle without first offering the buyer (at a cost) a three-day contract cancellation option.  EVADING A PEACE OFFICER Except for being able to tell your relatives to watch for you on an upcoming episode of COPS, nothing good can come from evading a police officer. New law provides that the misdemeanor offense is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year. If evading a peace officer results in bodily injury, the term of imprisonment in state prison increases to three, five, or seven years (or a fine or both). If the offense results in death, the term of imprisonment increases to four, six, or 10 years in the state prison. PROVISIONAL LICENSES  Teen drivers holding a provisional license may not, for the first 12 months, drive between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (it was previously 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.), unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, a licensed driver 25 years of age or older, or a licensed driving instructor. During the same 12 month period (previously six months), provisional license holders may not transport passengers under the age of 20 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, licensed driver 25 years of age or older, or a licensed driving instructor. MOTOR VEHICLE SPEED CONTEST New law increases the penalties for a speed contest violation. If the incident results in bodily injury to someone other than the driver, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a minimum of thirty days and a maximum of six months (up to one year in jail for a second offense).  FOG TAIL LAMPS  The minimum height requirement for red fog tail lamps is now twelve inches. LOW COST AUTO INSURANCE  New law extends the sunset date on the low cost auto insurance program and the proof of financial responsibility law from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2011, in Los Angeles County and in the City and County of San Francisco. LICENSE PLATE REPLACEMENT  Upon submission of specified documents, victims of rape and sexual battery will have the ability to immediately obtain replacement license plates. DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE  Among the many great reasons not to drive if you've been drinking, consider the stiffer penalties for 2006: · New law decreases the required blood alcohol level from 0.20% to 0.15% for assessing enhanced penalties. · Law enforcement may impound the vehicle of a DUI offender that is required to have an ignition interlock device in their vehicle but is caught driving without one. · Law enforcement may immediately impound the vehicle of a driver suspected of driving under the influence if the person had a prior DUI conviction within ten years and either refuses a chemical test or has a blood-alcohol level of 0.10% or greater. · The duration of alcohol treatment programs after a first DUI conviction where probation is granted from 6 months to 9 months and the required program activity hours from 45 hours to 60 hours when the BAC is 0.20% or greater, or the person refuses a chemical test. And did you know... A Senate resolution (SCR 27) proclaims April 6th as Drowsy Driver Awareness Day, an annual memorial day for people who have died as a result of a traffic collision involving a drowsy driver.  For additional information on California driving laws:  

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