New rules of the road for 2013

Jan. 1 isn’t only a day to nurse hangovers and watch football. It also marks the effective date of various new laws impacting California motorists, including:

SB 1388: Broken Parking Meters

Drivers who park in a metered space only to discover the meter is broken no longer have to worry about whether they will be ticketed. Under SB 1388, drivers are allowed to park at a broken parking meter up to the posted time limit without receiving a ticket. If local authorities do restrict parking at broken meters, the law requires that the no-parking rule be posted, informing drivers of the restriction.

SB 435: Motorcycle Noise

Any motorcycle and aftermarket exhaust system that is manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2013 and is registered in the state of California must maintain federally required emissions equipment, including a readily visible EPA stamp that certifies compliance. Under the new law, motorcyclists pulled over for other traffic violations may also be cited for illegally noisy exhaust pipes – a fix-it ticket that can be dismissed, on first offense, with proof of correction.

AB 1536: Hands-Free Texting

California drivers have been legally prohibited from using mobile devices to write, send or read text-based communications while operating their vehicles since Jan. 1, 2009. But AB 1536 removes that prohibition if the device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-controlled, hands-free operation and is used to dictate, send or listen to texts while

driving.

AB 1708: Electronic Proof of Insurance

California already requires drivers to carry evidence that their vehicles are insured. AB 1708 authorizes insurers to issue electronic verification of insurance coverage to mobile devices that drivers can present to law enforcement officers in lieu of a paper or plastic insurance card.

AB 2405: HOT Lane Access

Designed to encourage clean vehicle purchases, AB 2405 exempts single-occupant vehicles operated with natural gas or pure electric powertrains from having to pay tolls when driving in HOT lanes. The law takes effect for most HOT lanes January 1; it kicks in March 1, 2014 for state highways 10 and 110.

AB 1534: Buy Here Pay Here Dealer Labeling

Buy-here-pay-here auto dealers must prominently display labels on used vehicles that indicate their reasonable market values, including specific information the dealers used to determine their values. Buy-here-pay-here dealers must also provide prospective buyers with information from nationally recognized pricing guides that show how vehicles’ prices were determined.

Contact the writer: scarpenter@ocregister.com or Twitter @OCRcarpenter

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