Lane splitting legalized in California

By Keith Goble,

The practice of driving motorcycles between lanes of California freeway traffic to bypass congestion will soon be legal. California is the only state in the country that allows so-called lane splitting with motorcycles.

State law neither permits nor forbids the practice of riding motorcycles between rows of stopped or slowed traffic.

In 2013 the California Highway Patrol and California Department of Motor Vehicles posted on their websites and provided printed materials informing motorcyclists about the safety guidelines for the practice. The information was soon removed after a complaint that the guidelines could be misinterpreted as enforceable laws.

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Should some Californians lose ‘license to drink’?

By Beau Kilmer, The San Diego Union-Tribune

With traffic deaths climbing in the state, Californians should be thrilled that policymakers in Sacramento are discussing how to reduce impaired driving. This topic may be of special interest to San Diego County, where DUI arrests over the July Fourth weekend were up nearly 25 percent compared to last year.

In California, many efforts to reduce repeat drunken driving focus on the driving — such as restricting when (and if) offenders can drive, increasing penalties for subsequent DUI convictions and requiring offenders in some counties to install an interlock ignition device that prevents an automobile from starting if the driver has been drinking.

California also requires DUI offenders to attend education programs and its judges can order convicted drunken drivers to undergo drunken diverse treatment. A few counties even have designated court dockets that focus on getting DUI offenders into treatment and monitoring their progress.

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Fontana woman thanks police officer who gave her a ticket — and saved her life

By ALEJANDRO CANO, Fontana Herald News

When Officer Luis Valenzuela of the Fontana Police Department stopped Rhonda Lantz in mid-June for not wearing a seat belt, she was not especially pleased. But her feelings about the incident soon changed dramatically.

Lantz was ticketed by Valenzuela as part of the “Click it or Ticket” campaign on June 15. Ten days later, Lantz was involved in a terrible vehicle accident, but she survived because she was now wearing a seat belt — the very tool that she had avoided using previously throughout her life because she said it chokes her.

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Lady Gaga ‘Finally’ Gets Her Driver’s License

Dave Quinn,

Lady Gaga is now a licensed driver.

After “years of driving with a learner’s permit” and “an adult present,” the 30-year-old singer and actress passed her road test in California, she shared on Friday.

“Thelma and Puhleaaaze,” Gaga captioned an Instagram shot of her and her friend, explaining her new license. “I’M FREE. Rollin’ with the homies,” she added.

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California law lets you fiddle with phone while driving – sometimes

Tony Bizjak, Sacramento Bee

A California Office of Traffic Safety study came up with this unsurprising but alarming finding last week: 1 out of every 10 drivers on the road is paying as much attention to his or her smartphone as to the road ahead.

That’s illegal, right? Not necessarily.

It’s definitely illegal in California to talk into or text on a hand-held cellphone. But it’s not explicitly illegal to scroll through your phone’s music playlist by hand while driving or to take photos with your phone’s camera from behind the wheel. The law also is silent on whether you can hold your phone in your hand to read the phone’s map, or search on an app for the nearest pizzeria or gas station.

Legal challenge to driver’s license suspensions over unpaid fines and fees


Local courts are watching what happens with a growing legal battle. Civil rights groups have challenged a practice in California courts that allow a driver’s license to be suspended, if someone doesn’t pay the fees and fines assessed for a traffic violation.

Last year, 25,792 suspensions were handed out in cases like that in Kern County.

That number comes from Kern County Superior Court Executive Officer Terry McNally. He also tells Eyewitness News local courts process 145,000 citations a year, so those suspensions represent about 18 percent of those cases.

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Report: More California Drivers Spotted Using Cellphones

ABC News
Don Thompson, Associated Press

The number of California drivers using cellphones is rising, as are deaths and injuries blamed on distracted driving, state officials said Wednesday.

However, the number of tickets issued by the California Highway Patrol has substantially declined, as have distracted driving convictions statewide by all law enforcement agencies, according to information provided to The Associated Press.

At least 12.8 percent of drivers were seen using mobile devices during a survey earlier this year, the California Office of Traffic Safety reported.

That’s up from 9.2 percent last year and exceeds the previous high of 10.8 percent in 2013.

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California DMV Releases New Digital Driver Handbook

NBC San Diego
Beatriz Cabanas

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has announced the release of a digital version of the 2016 California Driver Handbook.

The free digital version is available for download in the Google Play Store for Android and through the iBooks Store for iOS phones which makes it easy for users wanting to study on the go.

According to the California DMV, the digital handbook will offer users a new learning experience with interactive material to prepare them for the driver license exam. This new material includes a summary of standard road signs, safe driving tips and a comprehensive overview of the rules of the road.

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Drivers License Bill Passes State Assembly Panel

Santa Monica Lookout

By Niki Cervantes

June 21, 2016 — State legislation to stop the automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for people with minor traffic offenses who fail to appear in court or to pay initial fines that snowball into huge financial burdens passed a key committee Monday.

The California Assembly Transportation Committee voted 9-to-4 to pass SB 881, which comes in the wake of a special temporary amnesty program started in October of 2015 by California.

The bill, sponsored by State Senator Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, allows those with minor driving offenses to to talk with a judge about their fines, restores driver’s licenses to those with a payment plan and adjusts escalating fees after taking low incomes into account.

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How people of color are being targeted for traffic violations—and huge fines—in California

By Daniel Rivero,

In many parts of the country, driving is less of a joyful experience and more of a necessary evil. The traffic is soul sucking, the highway exhaust fumes horrendous, and the radio plays the same songs too many damn times.

Yet a huge portion of our lives would come to a screeching halt if we didn’t have the freedom to drive around.

Earlier this year, the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights in California, an advocacy group, released a report about the kind of people who lose their driving privileges in California. Through its research, the group found that in many minority communities across the state, “driver’s license suspension rates range as high as five times the state average.” Widespread police practices that pull over minorities at higher rates than white people exacerbate the problem, the report notes.

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