New California Driving Laws for 2017

Police car enforcing the new California driving laws

It’s officially 2017, and California residents have nearly a dozen new driving laws that they have to follow. While most states across the nation are rolling out new laws this January, California by far has the most regarding drivers. Planning on driving in the Golden State this coming year? Be sure to brush up on these new California driving laws before you hit the road!

Hands-Free Driving

California motorists will be banned from operating handheld devices while driving, unless they are mounted on the windshield or affixed to the dashboard or center console. Even if you have your cell phone properly placed in your vehicle, you will only be able to use it if you are utilizing a feature that requires only a single swipe or tap.

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Buckle Up for Safety

Under Assembly Bill 53 the child safety restraint law expands to requiring that children under the age of 8 must be in the proper safety seat for their size.


A common practice among motorcycle drivers is lane splitting, or driving between cars between lanes. This practice is now officially legal in California, due to Governor Jerry Brown signing a bill on it back in August. This new California driving law aims to relieve traffic congestion and create new safety regulations for a common practice.

DUI Prevention

In certain counties in California, drivers who have been convicted of a DUI must install Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) in their vehicles. This bill will become a law throughout the state in 2019.

Increased Fees

<>While these don’t take effect until later in 2017, be prepared to pay higher vehicle registration and environmental license plate fees. Drivers can expect to pay around $10 more for each.


Accident Reporting

While it is always encouraged that you report an accident, the minimum threshold for damage done in an accident that legally has to be reported in California has increased from $750 to $1000.

Recalls on Rental Cars

This law is known as the Consumer Automatic Recall Safety (or CARS) Act, which makes it illegal for dealers or rental car companies from lending out vehicles that have be issued a recall notice until the car has been repaired. This is definitely an important law for everyone’s safety!

Special License Plates

Previously, only cars with a model year of 1969 or older qualified to receive Year of Manufacture license plates, to keep up the historic integrity of the vehicle. Starting in January vehicles with a model year of 1980 or older will qualify for this program.

While California has the most road-related laws going into effect this year, other states that are seeing changes are Illinois, Michigan, and Tennessee. Be sure to check with your local DMV to see if there are any new rules and regulations you should be following in the new year.

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