New Traffic Laws for 2021

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December 29, 2020
Edward Smith

What Are the New Traffic Laws for 2021?

As we ring out the old year this week, we need to be aware of a few new traffic laws that will affect California road travel come January 1, 2021.  The California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued a press release highlighting some of the new safety laws that go into effect during the new year.

There are many new laws that take effect every new year.  Below are a few that California drivers need to be aware of, along with the dates they become active.

New Laws Effective January 1st

One new law relates to unattended children in motor vehicles.  This law creates an exemption from criminal or civil liability for damage to a vehicle or trespassing for anyone who commits those acts in the course of rescuing a child six years of age or younger who is in immediate danger from cold, heat, poor ventilation, or other dangerous conditions.  This law takes effect on January 1, 2021.

The Move Over, Slow Down law is expanded.  This new law extends the “Move Over, Slow Down” law that is currently in place on freeways.  The expansion will apply the law to local roads and streets.  Drivers that approach a stationary emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights must move to another lane if possible, or slow to a reasonable speed on all roads.  This law applies to Caltrans vehicles and tow trucks in addition to first responder rigs.  This law goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

Watch the YouTube video.  This clip, uploaded by the CHP, explains the Move Over, Slow Down law.

Distracted Driving Law Coming in Summer 2021

Come summer, you may lose license points if you are cited for distracted driving.  Currently, if you use a cell phone while driving and without employing the hands-free method, the action is punishable by a monetary fine.  As of July 1, 2021, a second violation of the hands-free law within three years of the first conviction will add a point to the driver’s DMV record.  This law is applicable to violations of texting or talking with a hand-held device while driving, and to any use of a mobile communication device while driving by a person who is under the age of 18.

Law Enacted in September 2020 to Standardize in 2021

The CHP press release included a reminder of one of the new traffic laws that actually went into effect on September 29, 2020.  The law lets authorized emergency vehicles to deploy a “Hi-Lo” warning sound.  This sound is distinctive and noticeably different from a regular siren.  The Hi-Lo warning is to be used to notify the general public of an urgent need to evacuate an area in the event of an emergency.  The CHP is in the process of developing a statewide standardization of the Hi-Lo warning sound.  Until standardized regulations are completed and enacted, law enforcement agencies are able to use the Hi-Lo warning if they obtain a permit from the CHP.  

Granite Bay Personal Injury Lawyer

Hello, and thank you for visiting our legal blog.  I’m Edward Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Granite Bay, California.   I have been advocating on behalf of injured Northern Californians since 1982.  The highways around the greater Sacramento region are host to a number of automobile collisions each day.  When a negligent driver causes injuries and property damage, the injury lawyers at can help the victims recover monetary compensation for their damages.  If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, please call us for compassionate, free, and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400, or if you will be calling from outside the 916 area code, use our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.

It is important to do your research before choosing the right attorney.  Please read our client reviews on Yelp, Avvo, and Google.   To have a look at some of our successful case results, visit our Verdicts and Settlements page.

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