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California drivers face new laws in 2021

  • Posted December 28, 2020


California drivers face new laws in 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION) Several new traffic safety laws are taking effect in 2021, and the California Highway Patrol is reminding drivers of what they are ahead of the new year.

The CHP says these laws are taking effect in 2021:

License Points for Distracted Driving: Starting on July 1, 2021, drivers who violate the hands-free law by using a handheld cell phone while driving for a second time within 36 months will have a point added to their driver's record. It is currently punishable by a fine.


Unattended Children in Motor Vehicles: Beginning on Jan. 1, a person who trespasses or damages a vehicle while rescuing a child aged 6 or under from a vehicle from heat, cold, lack of ventilation or other dangers will be exempt from civil or criminal liability.

"Move Over, Slow Down" Amendments: The provisions of the "Move Over, Slow Down" law in place will be extended on Jan. 1 to apply to local streets and roads, not just freeways. Drivers coming up on a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights will be required to move to another lane if possible or slow to a reasonable speed. It also applies to tow trucks and Caltrans vehicles.

Another law went into effect earlier this year. It allows authorized emergency vehicles to use a "Hi-Lo" warning sound, different from a siren, to let the public know they need to evacuate an area in an emergency. The California Highway Patrol said it is working to create regulations that would standardize the sound statewide. Law enforcement agencies can use the warning sound by getting a permit from the CHP. That went into effect on Sept. 29.