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CHP highlights new traffic safety laws for 2024

REGION — The California Highway Patrol has released a set of traffic safety laws passed this year and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

The new traffic safety laws include:

AB 256 (Vehicle Registration): Amends existing law requiring current month and year tabs to be displayed on the registered vehicle’s rear license plate. As of July 1, 2024, and until Jan. 1, 2030, a violation of vehicle registration shall not be the sole basis for any enforcement action before the second month after the month of expiration of a vehicle’s registration. Late registration fees from the Department of Motor Vehicles still apply.

AB 925 Vehicle removal: Requires law enforcement to verify the lack of current vehicle registration with the DMV before towing a vehicle for expired registration longer than six months and prohibits the vehicle from being towed if the officer or traffic enforcement official does not have immediate access to those records.

AB 413 Crosswalks: Designed to increase visibility at crosswalks by prohibiting parking or stopping a vehicle along a curb at least 20 feet from a marked crosswalk or 15 feet of a crosswalk where a curb extension is present. The regulation only applies to the side of the road of the vehicle’s approach to the crosswalk. Local jurisdictions may establish different distances by marking areas with signs or paint.

AB 436 Cruising: Removes city and county authority to regulate cruising via local ordinances. Additionally, the law legalizes “low rider” vehicles allowing them to cruise streets by removing the height restriction on lowered vehicles.

SB 88 will require drivers and their vehicles, which are used by a local educational agency, to provide pupil transportation for compensation and to meet certain safety requirements.

SB 775 Zero-emission school buses: Authorizes a school district, county office of education, or charter school using a zero-emission school bus to transport pupils at or below the 12th-grade level to place signage on the rear of the bus identifying it as a clean-air zero-emission bus. It also authorizes the CHP to issue guidelines governing the size and placement of that signage.

Catalytic converters

AB 641 redefines an automobile dismantler to include individuals in possession of nine or more catalytic converters. The law also creates penalties for those illegally acting as auto dismantlers. Repair shops and other entities with a legitimate purpose for having catalytic converters will be excluded from the penalty.

AB 1519 makes it illegal to remove a Vehicle Identification Number from a catalytic converter or to possess three or more catalytic converters that have had their VIN markings removed.

SB 55 requires a motor vehicle dealer or retailer to have the catalytic converter engraved or etched with the VIN number before a new or used truck or car is sold.

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