During 2022, the California State Legislature approved several new laws of interest to motorists, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Unless otherwise noted, these measures take effect January 1, 2023.
Street Racing and “Sideshows”: In a continuing attempt to combat illegal street racing and “sideshows,” the Legislature adopted Assembly Bill 2000, which was authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel and supported by the Auto Club. The law expands the crimes of motor vehicle exhibition of speed and speed contests to include occurrences in parking lots.
The term “sideshow” has previously been defined for law enforcement purposes as two or more persons blocking or impeding traffic on a highway, for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving, for spectators. These activities often lead to illegal, and dangerous, street racing.
Catalytic Converter Thefts: The Legislature adopted two measures to address the growing problem of catalytic converter thefts. The Auto Club supported both. AB 1740, by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, prohibits a recycler from entering into a transaction to purchase or receive a catalytic converter from any person that is not a commercial enterprise or the verifiable owner of the vehicle from which the catalytic converter was removed.
SB 1087, by Senator Lena A. Gonzalez, prohibits a person, including a recycler, from purchasing a catalytic converter from anybody other than certain specified sellers, including an automobile dismantler, an automotive repair dealer, or an individual possessing documentation that they are the lawful owner of the catalytic converter. It is anticipated that limiting the circumstances associated with buying and selling catalytic converters will deter their theft.
Driver Assistance Systems: Senate Bill 1398, also by Senator Gonzalez, prohibits a manufacturer or dealer from featuring or describing any partial driving automation feature in written marketing materials from using language that implies or would otherwise lead a reasonable person to believe that the feature allows the vehicle to function as an autonomous vehicle when it lacks that functionality. It also requires dealers to provide purchasers with information on the functions and limitations of the partial driving automation feature. The Auto Club supported the bill.
Traffic and Pedestrian Stops: Assembly Bill 2537, by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, requires the Department of Justice to develop a video demonstrating the proper conduct by a peace offer and an individual during a traffic stop. Once complete, the DMV will post the video on its website and include the video in the course curriculum for driver’s education and advise people seeking an original, renewal or duplicate driver’s license that the video is available for viewing.
AB 2773, by Assemblymember Chris Holden, requires a peace officer, beginning January 1, 2024, making a traffic or pedestrian stop to state the reason for the stop prior to asking investigatory questions, unless the officer reasonably believes that withholding the reason for the stop is necessary to protect life or property from imminent threat.
Lastly, AB 2147, by Assemblymember Phil Ting, prohibits a peace officer from stopping a pedestrian for “jaywalking” unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a crash occurring. The Auto Club continues to urge pedestrians to cross streets at marked crosswalks if possible and only when safe to do so. The Auto Club also urges drivers to always pay attention and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Bicycles: AB 1909, by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, modifies several rules and restrictions on bicycle operations. The major provisions include:
First, it eliminates the statewide ban of class 3 electric bicycles on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail.
Second, it eliminates a local authority’s ability to ban electric bicycles on bike paths.
Third, it allows the Department of Parks and Recreation to prohibit the operation of electric bicycles or any class of electric bicycle on any bicycle path or trail within the department’s jurisdiction.
Fourth, it requires a motor vehicle, when overtaking or passing a bicycle in the same direction, to move over a lane of traffic when possible. This change in law mimics the requirement for vehicles to move over a lane when passing a stationary emergency vehicle, including tow trucks, displaying flashing lights known as “Slow down, Move over.”