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New California driving, transportation laws take effect

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Among the new laws is the establishment of a payment plan for low-income California drivers with outstanding parking violations.(Jessica Christian/2017 S.F. Examiner)
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A bevy of new rules for the road approved last year by Gov. Jerry Brown took effect throughout California on Monday.

Among those laws are Senate Bills 61 and 65, authored by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo). SB 61 imposes stricter applications laws for blue disability placards, including a requirement to provide proof of a “true full name and birth date,” according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. SB 65 prohibits smoking or ingesting cannabis while driving, to address California’s legalization of recreational marijuana effective Monday.

Senate Bill 20, also authored by Hill, will require passengers on buses that are equipped with seat belts to use them, an infraction punishable by a fine, according to the DMV.

Assembly Bill 503, authored by Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), creates a payment plan for low-income Californians with outstanding parking violations, to repay parking penalties to obtain a driver’s license.

Drivers working for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hail companies will face stricter rules meant to curb driving under the influence. Assembly Bill 2687, authored by former Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo), makes it unlawful for drivers-for-hire to operate a motor vehicle with blood alcohol concentrations of .04 percent or more while transporting a passenger. Previously, the limit was .08 percent.

The DMV will also begin collecting a Transportation Improvement Fee ranging from $25 to $175 when Californians register their vehicles, or renew their registration, to fund the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program, the much-vaunted Senate Bill 1 authored by state Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose).

The fees will be charged based on the market value of the vehicle being registered, and will direct $54 billion in the next decade to fixing transportation infrastructure statewide like roads and bridges, according to the state.

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