New laws for 2009

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
By Yokota Fritz


While talking on cellphones is already illegal in California, a new law makes any text-based communication while driving illegal.

A new zero tolerance standard for DUI allows the DMV to administratively suspend drivers licenses for one year. The new law also allows law enforcement agents to immediately impound vehicles of those caught with a BAC of 0.01% if they're driving on post-DUI probation.

The state's definition of a motorcycle will be modified so that fully enclosed 3 wheeled motor vehicles can use HOV lanes.

It will also be illegal after the New Year to "forge, counterfeit, or falsify a Clean Air Sticker," which are the yellow stickers allowing low emission vehicles to use the HOV lanes.

If you forget to get your car smogged and ask for a temporary permit, it'll now cost you $50.


New medical coverage requirements for auto insurance. Your insurance agent must receive an 'opt out' notice from you if you don't want the increased coverage.


The "judicial driving permit" -- a special permit for DUI offenders with suspended license to get to work -- will be replaced with a "Monitoring Device Driving Permit," which allows drunks to drive if they agree to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock installed on their car.

New Hampshire.

A Three Foot Passing Law becomes effective.


If you know of other laws, please feel free to post details or a link in the comments below. If you leave a helpful link I'll try to promote that link into this article.

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I was happy when Washington's cell phone ban went into effect July 1, 2008. Didn't see any motorists using cell phones for about two months. Now it's back to normal. Why? Washington has secondary enforcement, meaning the driver must be violating another law before the cell phone violation is tacked on. In other words, useless.
"fully enclosed 3 wheeled motor vehicles"?
Gene: the same thing's happened here in California: High compliance when the cellphone law was new, but people go back to their normal behavior after awhile.

Jennifer: It's a high MPG small car. Here's one article about it.
For those in NH, note that the new law also requires at least one article of clothing with a reflective strip when you ride at night. Strikes me as bizarre, as it can be satisfied by a useless bit of reflective material that is nowhere near as good as bike-mounted reflectors or conspicuity tape (the best kind of reflective tape), but following the letter of the law is probably a good idea even if you have good reflectors, so as not to have the motorist who kills you able to claim that as an excuse.
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