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New laws of the road

Driving legislations in California went into effect Tuesday

Staff Writer

BARSTOW• Included in the hundreds of new state laws and amendments passed by the California State Legislature, are ones highlighting the changes that drivers in the High Desert and California could expect to see in 2013.

As of Tuesday, there are laws to assist in finding missing senior citizens, permit hands-free texting and self-driving vehicles, eliminate urine tests for alleged drunk drivers and allow proof of insurance by smartphone or tablet.

“All the new laws, they’re basically designated to protect the motoring public,” said Officer Adam Croxton, a spokesman with the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP usually has some type of input with regard to any driving-related legislation that is passed, and the CHP reviews new laws and vehicle codes as they change, Croxton said

Deputy Cody Korkotsakis, with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, said the department is aware of the new laws as well.

“We reviewed the new laws a week or two ago,” he said, “but haven’t dealt with any cases, as they’ve only recently taken effect.”

In a tell-tale sign of living in a technological era, new laws provide plausible scenarios where drivers can test autonomous vehicles on public roads, pull out their iPhone as proof of insurance and text their friends through voice commands.

Law enforcement officials don’t seem too concerned about the safety of hands-free texting—noting that hands-free calling is already legal—as long as the person’s eyes are focused on the road.

In regard to electronic proof of insurance, Barstow Police Interim Lt. Mike Hunter said, like with hands-free texting, “it’s just another advancement in technology.”

The police department will provide training to its officers later this month before enforcing the new laws, Hunter said.


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