Increased Penalties for Street Racing DUI Among New Laws for 2007

California Department of Motor Vehicles
Media Relations Office
2415 First Avenue, MS F-122, Sacramento, CA 95818
Contact: Mike Marando, Steve Haskins, Armando Botello, Mike Miller
December 20, 2006




Sacramento—During the 2006 legislative year, almost 1400 bills were passed and more than 900 signed into law—including 145 changes to the California Vehicle Code. Many of the changes to existing traffic-related laws take effect on Jan. 1, 2007.

Among the new laws about to go into effect are increased penalties for street racing (speed contests), an increase in the suspension of a driver license to 10 months for first-time DUI offenders with a BAC of .20, and legislation that requires the DMV to report DUI convictions on a public driving record for 10 years, instead of the current reporting period of seven years.

While these new laws have a direct effect on all of the state’s 23 million drivers, the California Department of Motor Vehicles wants to ensure that everyone who gets behind the wheel in the New Year is aware of the most significant statutory changes.

“Responsible drivers must know, understand and stay current on the many important laws that help keep us all safe on the thousands of miles of state roadways,” said DMV Director George Valverde.  “DMV maintains an updated version of the California Vehicle Code on our Web site as well as summaries of all new traffic-related laws, and we encourage all drivers to keep their knowledge of the many “rules-of-the-road” as current as possible."

Following is an abbreviated summary of the new laws that in most cases will take effect Jan. 1, 2007, unless indicated otherwise.

(Note: ‘AB’ denotes a bill that was originated in the California State Assembly, and ‘SB’ denotes a bill that originated in the California State Senate. The names after the bill numbers are the persons who authored the bills. All of the bills have been signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

  1. DRIVER LICENSING, DRIVER SAFETY, FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:
    • AB 1850 (Mountjoy)--Creates a new infraction for either allowing a person to ride or actually ride in the trunk of a car. Persons found guilty will be subject to a fine, and the driver will have a negligent operator point” attached to his/her license.
    • AB 2190 (Benoit)--Increases the penalties for reckless driving or engaging in a speed contest of some kind. Specified injuries to others as a result would subject first-offenders to hefty fines and jail or prison time ranging from 30 days to six months.
    • AB 2542 (Daucher)--Requires DMV to use grant money to continue the study of a non-age based Three-Tier Driver Assessment system to identify functional impairments in California drivers. The department has developed a program that will soon be piloted in several DMV offices in Northern California for further evaluation.
    • SB 1610 (Simitian)--Requires drivers to take specific precautionary actions on a highway when passing a stopped emergency vehicle when emergency lights are activated. The law makes it an infraction not to properly comply with directions from on-scene personnel.
    • SB 1613 (Simitian)--Establishes  the California Wireless Telephone Act  that as of July 1, 2008, prohibits drivers from operating their vehicles while using a hand-held cell phone. Hands-free devices are allowed, and there are a several exemptions for emergency use. Persons who are cited will face a $20 fine for a first offense, and a $50 fine for each subsequent offense.
    • SB 1756 (Migden)--Increases the mandatory suspension of driver licenses from 6 months to 10 months for any first DUI offense when the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .20 or higher. The legal threshold for a DUI offense is .08.
  2. RECORDS AND CONFIDENTIALITY
    • SB 1586 (Lowenthal)--Allows greater public access, including insurance companies, to DUI conviction information for violations that occurred in the past 10 years; currently only law-enforcement and the courts are able to access this information for that specific length of time.
    • AB 2169 (Mountjoy)--Extends the “Safe at Home Law” for five years to Jan. 1, 2013. This program is run by the California Secretary of State’s Office, and creates an alternative driver license address for victims of domestic violence and/or stalking. The law also allows DMV to continue “suppressing” victims’ license and vehicle registration records.
    • AB 2291 (Evans)--Prohibits computer vendors, vehicle manufacturers and other specified entities from accessing personal information from a vehicle dealer’s computer system that stores customers’ private information without the dealer consent. (The practice is known as “data mining.”)
  3. VEHICLE REGISTRATION
    • AB 2600 (Lieber)--Requires owners of hybrid vehicles in the nine San Francisco Bay-Area counties that have been issued Clean Air Stickers by DMV to maintain enrollment in the FasTrak automated toll-collection program administered by the Metropolitan Transit Authority so that proper tolls can continue to be collected by hybrid drivers who live and work in the area.
    • AB 2120 (Liu)--Allows nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physicians’ assistants to substantiate a disability for the purpose of allowing the issuance of a disabled or a disabled veteran’s placard.  Current law allows only licensed physicians to certify a disability to obtain a placard.

To easily access the California Vehicle Code for further information, simply log on to the DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov and click on the “Publications” button in the upper left hand corner of the home page. The DMV driver handbook is also on the web at the same location. The 2007 version of the handbook will be published for distribution to all 169 DMV field officers shortly after the first of the year, and will also be updated and available on the Internet at the same time. (The 2006 version will be available until that time).

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