2023 California Driver & Pedestrian Laws

2023 CA Driver and Pedestrian Laws

By Jesamine

In 2023, new laws will take effect to protect both drivers and pedestrians. Some of these driving laws and laws to protect pedestrians are already in place but will be enforced more strictly, while others are brand new.

What is the Goal of these New 2023 Driver Laws?

The 2023 laws aim to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths and injuries from interactions with motorists. These changes were made after a review by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that over 5,000 pedestrians die each year due to collisions with vehicles and another 70,000 end up in the hospital with life-changing injuries.

The changes to the Vehicle Code are intended to prevent people from becoming confused about their rights and obligations. For example, the “Freedom to Walk Act” officially came into law. Allowing jaywalkers to legally commute around without fear of getting fined for not crossing at a specified crossway. According to AB 2147, Police are not to cite jaywalkers “unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power.”

Have you been hurt or hit by a driver while walking? Find out if you’re entitled to injury compensation now!

What are the Benefits of these New Laws?

There are plenty of benefits to these newly implemented laws. The first is that motorists will drive safer around pedestrians, as they will be required to slow down and give them much more time when passing. By doing so, this will prevent severe injuries and deaths, especially those involving children and seniors that tend to be at higher risk for being struck by cars. Moreover, the pedestrian laws will give pedestrians the certainty that their rights are protected, which may encourage more of them to start walking for exercise and errands—helping them to live longer, healthier lives. This is especially important for the newly implemented laws for self-driving car advertising, who can sell catalytic converters and new electric bicycle training programs.

What Are the New Laws?

The new California laws that take effect in 2023 will be as follows:

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will publish recommendations and guidelines for states to follow when regulating self-driving cars in 2023. Such will also include detailed information on how self-driving cars should be programmed to handle pedestrians at intersections. Lastly, the organization will recommend what rules states should adopt to allow self-driving vehicles to operate on their roads. For example, Tesla is no longer allowed to advertise their cars as “self-driving.”

• AB 2147, Ting: Pedestrians & Jaywalking
In this long-awaited law, Peace Officers are now prohibited from stopping pedestrians for crossing the road outside of the designated crosswalk, unless there is a sense of danger or a crash.

• SB 1087, Gonzalez: Catalytic Converters
In this new law, the bill specifies who can sell catalytic converters to recyclers. These sales also require recyclers to keep proper documentation of the year, make, model and title copy of the vehicle in which the catalytic converter was taken from. This law was implemented of hopes of reducing the amount of catalytic converter theft.

• Speed limits on some roads and highways in California will permit a speed of up to 40 mph. That’s an increase of 10 mph over today’s minimum speed limit of 20 mph. The increase is intended to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries by giving pedestrians more time to cross the road before being hit. Some freeways will see a much higher speed limit of up to 50 mph.

• SB 1472, Stern: Vehicular Manslaughter for Speeding & Reckless Driving
Motorists showing exhibition of speed or speeding over 100 mph resulting in negligence may now be charged with Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence.

• AB 2000, Gabriel: Motorist Speeding Contests
This bill announced that parking lots and off-street parking facilities are now included as areas where it’s a crime to engage in speeding contests, races or sideshow activity.

• AB 1732, Patterson: Yellow Alert for Hit & Run Accidents
Here, the California Highway Patrol must activate a “Yellow Alert” once a fatal hit-and-run accident occurs. This law will request support from the public to improve investigations for law enforcement agencies attempt to solve these fatal hit & run accidents.

• Pedestrians will be prohibited from walking along freeways or interstate highways with several exceptions, like drivers stopping to make repairs to their vehicles and crossing at toll booths.

• AB 1946, Boerner Horvath: Electric Bicycles Safety & Training Program
The California Highway Patrol is now required to work with other traffic safety stakeholders, like the CA Office of Traffic Safety, to develop statewide safety and training programs for electric bicyclists. The program is set to premiere on the CHP website in September 2023.

• As of 2023, all cars and trucks must have rearview mirrors on the right side that are adjustable up to 180 degrees so that a person can easily see behind the vehicle without moving their head.

How the Laws Impact Drivers

All throughout the country, drivers and pedestrians are held responsible for keeping each other safe on the road. Today, pedestrians and drivers follow some of the same rules in California, such as allowing pedestrians to use crosswalks before proceeding to cross the road. These new laws are set in place in order to help implement a safer, easily-commutable environment for both motorists and pedestrians. This can be done with proper acknowledgement of these laws and of the presence of others.

How the Laws Impact Cyclists

Cyclists riding bikes or riding on foot in California must obey the same laws as other drivers. Cyclists could be cited for failing to stop at a crosswalk if they are not carefully watching for pedestrians. The new 2023 laws set the groundwork for a safer roadway by establishing rules for all California drivers and pedestrians.

Even with these new 2023 Cyclists laws, do not hesitate to contact JT Legal Group if you have been in a bike collision or accident with another motorist.

These rules will create a safer environment for everyone on California’s roads. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should be made aware of these new laws, as doing so can help provide a better, safer commute for all.

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By Jesamine

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