Laws Going Into Effect On January 1, 2021
AB-2717 Motor vehicles: unattended children: liability: This law exempts those from civil or criminal liability who trespass or damage a vehicle in the process of rescuing a child aged 6 or younger who is in immediate danger from dangerous circumstances, including heat, cold or lack of ventilation, which could reasonably cause suffering, disability or death to the child. The bill’s text noted that existing law, before the bill was passed, already granted similar exemptions for those attempting to rescue animals from vehicles, the typical situation being a vehicle with closed windows on a hot, sunny day.
The bill also established procedures for arranging for the transportation and treatment of children according to existing local EMS agency policies.
AB-2285 “Move Over, Slow Down” amendments: This bill ensures that the “Move Over, Slow Down” law which currently applies to freeways will apply to all highways. Drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles flashing their emergency lights, including Caltrans vehicles and tow trucks, must now change lanes when possible, or slow to a reasonable speed on all highways, not only freeways. A violation of the “Move Over, Slow Down” law is currently punishable by a fine of no more than $50.
Law Going Into Effect On July 1, 2021
AB-47 Driver records: points: distracted driving: A fine is currently given for using cell phones in a handheld manner while driving in California. A second violation of this law within 36 months, beginning July 1, will add a point to a driver’s record. This will apply to texting or talking while driving, not including hands-free use, as well as to the use of any of these devices by a driver under the age of 18.
Law Already In Effect
SB-909 Emergency vehicles: This bill allows authorized emergency vehicles to use “Hi-Lo” warning sounds, which are unique sounds that are different than sirens and are used to alert the public of the need to immediately evacuate an area in the event of an emergency. Law enforcement agencies can currently obtain permits to use the Hi-Lo warning sound while the CHP develops regulations to standardize the sound in California. The bill states the Hi-Lo warning sound may only be used to warn of the need to immediately evacuate.