SB 1298 establishes conditions for the testing and operation of “autonomous vehicles,” which can operate without the active control and continuous monitoring of a human driver. The law calls on the DMV to develop regulations governing the operation of these vehicles on California roads prior to 2015. The bill was sponsored by Google, a developer of autonomous vehicle technology.
The Auto Club sponsored SB 1388, which allows motorists to park at broken meters (up to the posted time limit) without fear of getting a ticket unless the local jurisdiction provides visible and adequate notice of any prohibitions at parking locations.
AB 1536 clarifies existing law by allowing drivers to dictate, send, or listen to text-based communications while driving as long as they do so using technology specifically designed and configured to allow fully voice-operated, hands-free operation. This clarification makes the texting-while-driving ban consistent with the law that prohibits use of cell phones while driving unless the phone is used hands-free. Drivers under age 18 are still prohibited from using any electronic device while driving.
AB 2189 allows a car rental company to verify a renter’s identity by comparing the driver’s license photograph to the driver renting the vehicle. The measure also allows certain noncitizens whose presence in the United States is authorized by federal law to obtain a driver’s license in California.
AB 2489 prohibits a person from operating a vehicle with a product or device that obscures—or is intended to obscure—the reading or recognition of a license plate by sight or use of an electronic device (like a toll or red-light camera). The new law also prohibits a person from erasing, painting over, or altering a license plate to avoid visual or electronic capture of the license plate or its characters.
AB 2405 exempts vehicles with special state-issued green and white stickers (all electric, natural gas, and “plug-in” hybrid cars) from toll charges that single-occupant vehicles pay to access express or HOT (high occupancy toll) lanes. This exemption does not apply to the new Metro Express Lanes on the I-110 (Harbor) and I-10 (San Bernardino) freeways south and east of downtown Los Angeles until after March 1, 2014. These vehicles are also not exempt from tolls charged on regular toll roads.
BMW vehicle owners scored a major victory when Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 750, a BMW-sponsored bill that would have made that manufacturer’s temporary exemption from the state’s “key code law” permanent.