Traffic Law Changes Beginning in 2019

xrayNew traffic law changes that will go into effect January 1, 2019, may surprise Sacramento motorists, bicycle riders, and others. Included in the new laws that will be going into effect are changes to driver licenses, requirements for convicted drunk drivers, and new responsibility for bicycle riders when involved in hit-and-runs. Keeping up with new changes in traffic laws is important to avoid running afoul of the law and to be a responsible citizen.

Ignition Locks for Those Convicted of Drunk Driving 

Among traffic law changes is a new requirement for ignition locks for first-time drunk-driving offenses. Sen. Jerry Hill sponsored SB 1046, and it mandates that first-time, as well as repeat offenders, be outfitted with an ignition lock system on their vehicles for up to two years. Before this law was passed, it only applied to Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare, and Sacramento counties. Now it applies throughout the state. In addition, those who have an administrative order suspending their licenses may apply for an IID-restricted privilege that allows an offender to drive for certain pre-approved reasons. The law will be in effect until January 1, 2026, unless it is extended before the end date.

Gender Identification Changes

Sen. Toni Atkins sponsored SB 169, one of the other new traffic law changes that allow those applying for a driver's license in California to choose the gender of female, male or nonbinary. When the license is issued, an “X” will appear on the license for those who choose nonbinary.

Clean Air Vehicles 

Assemblyman Richard Bloom sponsored AB 544, which is a law that allows zero- or low-emission vehicles to use carpool lanes. This is another bill that sets January 1, 2023, if it is not renewed beforehand. A decal from the DMV is necessary to use HOV lanes, which details the requirements that must be met.

Bicycle Accident Rules Changed 

Marc Steinorth, a former assemblyman from Rancho Cucamonga, sponsored AB 1755, which is one of the new traffic law changes. This law makes it necessary for bicycle riders and pedicabs which are on a shared roadway or bike path to stop under the Vehicle Code if they are involved in an accident. Like motorists, they would be expected to exchange information with the other person and render aid if someone is injured.

Garbage Trucks 

Another of the traffic law changes amends Section 21761 of the Vehicle Code and requires that motorists change into an adjacent lane if they are nearing or passing by a garbage truck that has its amber lights on. This law applies if the lane change can be done safely. If it isn’t possible for the driver to change lanes, then they should slow down. This new addition to the traffic code goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

Legal Advice Following an Accident

Accident expenses that are caused through negligence by another person or entity may be recovered with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. The lawyer helps by dealing with the insurance company, and if an agreement for reasonable compensation cannot be reached, he or she can prepare a case to present in civil court.

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney in Sacramento. Disobeying traffic laws can lead to a collision with resulting injuries. When this happens to you or a loved one, the mounting medical bills and other costs associated with the accident can lead to financial distress. However, you may be able to obtain fair compensation for the accident injuries to pay those bills. Please contact me at (916) 921-6400 in the Rosemont area or through my toll-free line at (800) 404-5400 if you are phoning from another location in Northern California. A handy online contact form is also available for your use at

We have represented many Sacramento residents and throughout Northern California in obtaining fair compensation for their injuries. Some of the areas I work in include all types of car accidentsbrain injuries, and wrongful deaths.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on Avvo, Google, and Yelp, and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 10.8.20]

Photos Attribution: diegoparra on Pixabay

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