Good morning, California drivers! Here are ten new laws affecting you in 2013 (as a bar owner who drives to and from work, it’s one section of the legal code I pay a little extra nervous attention to)
AB 2020 – (ok: flop sweat breaks out here) – a person arrested on suspicion of DUI will no longer be given the option of a urine test – breath or blood only. Actually, this one doesn’t trouble me: if I were to get pulled over, I know for a fact I’d be too nervous to pee anyway, no matter how many Jack and gingers I’ve had. And knock on wood – I think I’m just about the only person working at the bars who hasn’t had his cherry popped with a night in the drunk tank.
SB 1298 – the future is on its way. This law establishes conditions for the testing and operation of “autonomous vehicles” – yup, cars without drivers. Not sure what the real benefits here are. I guess they can pick up your kids from school if you’re too busy, but unless they come with a free robot, I’m not sure who is gonna run into the drugstore for toilet paper.
SB 1388 – Yay! You can park at a broken meter up to its maximum time limit without getting a ticket. I predict a spike in aluminum baseball bat and super glue sales for 2013.
AB 1536 – a sea change here, people (well, sorta). Texting while driving is now legal, so long as you keep your fingers out of it. Voice gizmos, only. So now you just look like you’re talking to yourself, which is still better than being caught picking your nose.
AB 2189 – allows a car rental company to verify a renter’s identity by comparing the driver’s license photo to the driver renting the vehicle. So when I’ve been handing the dude at the rental kiosk my credit card and license all this time, what has he being doing? Covering the picture with his thumb?
AB 2489 – sorry, no more painting over your license plate to avoid being busted by toll or red-light cameras.
SB 1303 – traffic land can get dirty: this law prohibits the use of red-light cameras to raise revenues; it also prohibits “snitch tickets”: an innocent ticket recipient will no longer be required to identify another driver in order to clear an inaccurate ticket. By my count, that’s two dirty tricks the government’s been using: boosting iffy traffic tickets to fill their coffers; and offering innocent people the chance to clear tickets they didn’t deserve in the first place by narc-ing on others. Take heart, conspiracy theorists: the government’s as corrupt as you’ve been telling us.
AB 45 – party bus and limo drivers must now inform their passengers that underage drinking is illegal. I predict proms in 2013 will suck.
AB 1708 – if you’re pulled over, you now have the right to show proof of insurance on a smartphone or tablet. Hackers, limber up!
SB 1047 – no more ageism when it comes to abductions: the CHP will now issue “Silver Alerts” for missing people over 65, in addition to Amber Alerts. Does that mean grandpa’s license plate number is going to be plastered all over the freeway when he goes out to buy Maalox but forgets why he left the house and ends up in Merced?
Happy motoring, California!