With the changing of the calendar to 2023, Californians again have a slew of new laws to be wary of. The Highway Patrol recently release summaries of some of the new laws that they will be enforcing on California’s roads.
• One new law concerns police officers and their employment requirements. Police officers and trainees are still authorized to work in the U.S. under Federal laws and regulations, however, California now does not require them to be U.S. citizens or even to permanently live in the U.S.
• A new law specifies who is legally allowed to sell used catalytic converters to auto recyclers, and requires the buyers to keep records on the year, make, model and a copy of the vehicle title where the cat came from. This is intended to cut down on catalytic converter thefts by going after the unscrupulous scrappers who buy them for the precious metals they contain.
• A new law changed the penalty for people who drive recklessly. Drivers involved in so-called “sideshow” activity, racing or speeding over 100 mph and which result in a fatality, can now be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
• Another new law dealing with reckless driving expands the area where exhibition of speed and street racing are not allowed to include parking lots and off-street parking facilities.
• A new alert system allows law enforcement to put out the word on social media, radio and TV whenever an indigenous person has been kidnapped, abducted or reported missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances. The so-called, “Feather Alerts,” would use the same notification system as the CHP’s AMBER Alerts Blue and Silver Programs.
• A new law lets law enforcement agencies request the CHP to activate a “Yellow Alert” system whenever a fatal hit-and-run crash has occurred. The law also encourages local news media to disseminate the information contained in a Yellow Alert.
• A new law requires the Attorney General’s Office to create an online reporting system for third-party online marketplaces to report listed items suspected of being stolen. The information would be available to local police and the CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force to help with investigations.
• The State has attempted to increase safety for bicyclists. Like the move-over or slow-down law that requires motorists to slow down and give riders a wide berth, this new law provides increased protections to bicyclists by requiring vehicles passing or overtaking a bicycle in the same direction, to move over to an adjacent lane of traffic, if one is available, or slow down and only pass the bicyclist when safe to do so.
The law also permits Class 3 e-bike riders “to use approved bicycle paths and trails, bikeways, and bicycle lanes. The law prohibits local governments from requiring bicycle registration and allows local authorities to prohibit any electric bicycle on an equestrian, hiking, or other recreational trail.”
• The CHP will work with other traffic safety stakeholders to develop statewide safety and training programs for electric bicycle riders. The training program will consist of electric bicycle riding safety, emergency maneuver skills, rules of the road and laws pertaining to electric bicycles, and will be posted on the CHP’s website in September 2023.
• And in what has perhaps been the most widely publicized change in the law, a new law prohibits peace officers from stopping pedestrians for certain “pedestrian-specific” violations like crossing a road outside of a crosswalk or better known as jaywalking, “unless there is an immediate danger of a crash.”
The law would appear to put the onus on the pedestrian to at least look both ways before jaywalking.