California DUI Laws: 2007 Drivers License Laws

Unless otherwise indicated, these new laws become effective on January 1, 2007.

Cell Phones Operative July 1, 2008 Requires the use of hands-free wireless phones as of July 1, 2008, with limited exceptions.

Commercial Driver License Ensures immediate administrative driver licensing sanctions are imposed when any driver is operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or greater.

Requires California to report convictions of commercial driver traffic violations to the home state of the commercial driver for sanctioning purposes. Establishes the following: A first conviction for driving any vehicle under the influence of drugs is cause for the disqualification of the commercial driving privilege for one year. A commercial driver who is convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, regardless of whether the violation occurred in a commercial vehicle or the driver’s personal vehicle, is subject to the disqualification of the commercial driving privilege for one year. A first conviction of gross vehicular manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter is cause for the disqualification of the commercial driving privilege for one year. Eliminates the authority for the issuance of a restricted commercial driver’s license when the driving privilege is suspended or because the driver or driver’s family has a serious health problem (does not prohibit the issuance of a restricted Class C or M license; thereby allowing the commercial driver to operate a non-commercial vehicle).

Driver License Removes the minimum age requirement for persons to consent to participate in the organ and tissue donor program.

Driver License Suspension Increases the mandatory driver’s license suspension period to ten months for persons convicted of a first offense of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol if the individual’s blood alcohol concentration level was .20% or greater, and the court orders an enhanced alcohol treatment program.

Driving Infraction Creates a new infraction for driving a motor vehicle while knowingly permitting a person to ride in the trunk. A passenger found guilty of riding in the trunk of a vehicle would be guilty of an infraction. Both the driver and passenger would be subject to fines pursuant to a specified schedule. A driver convicted of knowingly permitting passengers to ride in/on the trunk of a vehicle would receive one negligent operator point on his or her driving record.

Makes driving under age 21 with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01% or greater a citable offense, and if convicted, the person would be guilty of an infraction subject to increased court fines. Currently subject to suspension under the Zero Tolerance Law. However, this would not be a point count, according to Vehicle Code §12810.

Emergency Vehicles Requires drivers to take specific precautionary actions on a highway when passing a stopped emergency vehicle when the emergency lights are activated. Makes it an infraction for failure to comply with those requirements.

Equipment of Vehicles Clarifies existing statute regarding the use of headlamps during darkness and/or inclement weather.

Graffiti and Vandalism Allows courts to impose increased driver license sanctions for graffiti and vandalism. Courts may now suspend a driver license for a period of up to two years, or delay issuing a license for a period of one to three years.

Ignition Interlock Device Prohibits a manufacturer of an ignition interlock device (IID) from furnishing information to any individual or entity that would allow modifications to be made that would allow it to be used in a manner that is contrary to its intended purpose. Prohibits the tampering of an IID by a service center or technician and prohibits reinstatement of the driving privilege until the DMV receives proof that the device has actually been installed. Requires DMV to verify installations on court ordered IID.

Mature Driver Improvement Course Revises the Mature Driver Improvement Program by increasing the maximum allowable course fee and by providing for a renewal course with reduced instructional time. Addresses comments of course participants who do not believe the full 400-minute course is necessary every three years for renewal purposes. Allows course providers
to charge a fee of up to $30 for either the initial or renewal course and providers indicate this fee increase is needed because costs have risen since the inception of the program in 1986. Requires DMV to establish standards and develop criteria and review each provider’s renewal course lesson plan to ensure it
meets the Mature Driver Improvement Course requirements.

Pull Notice Adds ambulance certificate holders to the current list of certificate holders who are required to participate in the department’s Pull Notice Program.

Reckless Driving/Racing Increases penalties for first conviction of reckless driving or engaging in a speed contest resulting in specified injuries to a person other than the driver. First-offenders would be subject to confinement in state prison or county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than 6 months, or by a fine of not less than $220 (reckless driving) or $500 (speed contest) nor more than $1000. The specified injuries which would incur these sentences are; loss of consciousness, concussion, bone fracture, protracted loss or impairment
of function of a bodily member or organ, wound requiring extensive suturing, serious disfigurement, brain injury, and/or paralysis.

School Bus Certificate Authorizes the California Highway Patrol to conduct a preliminary criminal and driver history check to determine the eligibility of an individual prior to issuing a special certificate authorizing the operation of a schoolbus, school pupil activity bus, youth bus, or a general public paratransit vehicle. Exempts school bus mechanics and driver trainees from having to obtain a school bus endorsement for the operation of the vehicle provided they are not engaged in the transportation of children.

Three-Tier Driver Assessment Project Requires the department to conduct a study of a Three-Tier Driver Assessment System, contingent upon receipt of grant money, and determine the effectiveness of the program in identifying functional impairments, reducing crashes, and prolonging safe driving years of all drivers regardless of age.

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