California Vehicle Code Foreword

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is directed to publish and sell the California Vehicle Code, also referred to as the Vehicle Code, pursuant to Vehicle Code section 1656.

The State Edition of the Vehicle Code contains the text recodified by Chapter 3, Statutes of 1959, as amended by chapters enacted subsequently in the Statutes of 1959 through 2012.

Prior to 1967 the Legislature met every other year (in odd–numbered years) to consider matters of general legislation. Special sessions were also conducted in even–numbered years to consider budgetary items and matters placed before the Legislature by special request of the Governor. The Vehicle Code was published every other year, following the full sessions of the Legislature.

Commencing in 1967, the Legislature met every year.

In 1973, the two–year Legislative Session began. This was the result of Proposition 4, Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 95 of 1972.

The two–year session formally commences at noon on the first Monday in December of even–numbered years and adjourns sine die on midnight of November 30 of the succeeding even–numbered year. There is a midsession recess from September 15 to January 6.

Generally statutes will take effect on January 1 of each year provided they were enacted 90 days prior to that date and were not urgency measures or bills enacted in Special Session. Urgency statutes take effect upon their enactment and bills enacted at Special Sessions take effect 91 days after adjournment of the Special Session.

An Appendix contains “other laws relating to the use of highways or the operation of motor vehicles,” as specified in Section 1656.

A List of Violations of the Vehicle Code, revised and brought up to date every year, is also included in the State Edition. This list is provided as an informational guide only and is not intended to supplant sections of the vehicle code enacted into law. The list has not been codified and does not carry the force or effect of statute.

Boldface italics are used to indicate new provisions not contained in former editions. Parentheses in the text –(  )– indicate that material has been deleted by amendment. Material deleted from the Vehicle Code is printed in seven–point type in the footnotes and is removed from subsequent editions. Deleted material is not shown for the related codes in the appendix.

History lines are included in the code denoting the last ten years of legislative history of the sections. If the last legislative action on a section occured more than ten years ago, that single action line is retained. In most cases, history is confined to noting the number and section of the statutory chapter affecting the code section, the year of the statutory action, and the effective and/or operative date(s). Vehicle Code sections with no history line remain unchanged since the 1959 recodification.

For legislative history of the Vehicle Code as enacted in Chapter 27, Statutes of 1935, and of its sections prior to the 1959 recodification, reference may be made to the 1957 or earlier printings of the Vehicle Code in the State Edition, or to an annotated edition. Most editions of the code published in 1959 and 1961 contain Tables of Derivation and Disposition of the sections renumbered in the 1959 recodification. For purposes of the State Edition, these tables were deemed to be of diminishing reference value effective with the 1963 edition, and have not been included in subsequent issues.

Vehicle Code Table of Contents