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New 2018 California DMV Laws

Don’t want to start the new year with a ticket? Have outstanding parking violations? Due for registration or license renewal? Be sure to check out the new California laws enforced by the DMV starting January 1, before hopping in your vehicle, and be prepared to dish out money for new fees in 2018.

New California DMV Laws 2018 Infographic

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Prohibited Cannabis Use Inside Vehicles

Both driver and a passenger are prohibited from consuming or smoking marijuana and all marijuana products, while inside a vehicle. A violation will result in negligent operator points. Please refer to the California Driver Handbook and Motorcycle Handbook for upcoming 2018 updates on marijuana use violations.

Seatbelt Use Enforced on Buses 

A passenger riding on a bus that has seat belts must be securely fastened by a safety belt. If you’re a parent, legal guardian, or an accompanying party traveling with a child between ages 8 and 16, the law also requires the child to be properly secured by a safety belt. Starting July 1, a violation will lead to an infraction and a fine.

Increased DUI Standards to Transport Passengers for Hire 

The new law prohibits individuals with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more to operate personal motor vehicle, while transporting a passenger on-board. DUI conviction will lead to a suspended driver license, or disqualification of commercial drivers.

New Parking Violation Conditions for Registration or Driver License Renewal  

For those with outstanding parking tickets and other fees, the new law prevents issuance or renewal of registration or driver license until they are paid. However, you may file for Planned Non-Operation status, if you are a registered owner or seek to renew your driver license, while having outstanding parking penalties on record. Low-income Californians are eligible to take advantage of a new procedure to help repay fines, before violations are reported to the DMV.

New HOV Decal Program for Low Emission Vehicles

Owners of low emission vehicles will be allowed to enroll in a four-year decal program that grants the use of high-occupancy vehicle lanes, despite their vehicle occupancy level. For those with green and white decals on vehicles, the expiration date is January 1, 2019. If your green or white decal was issued in 2017 or 2018, you may reapply for a decal in 2019 to obtain access to high-occupancy toll lanes through January 1, 2022.

New Process for Disabled Person Parking Placard and License Plate

To qualify for the disabled person parking placard and license plate, you are required to furnish a proof of verifiable full name and birthdate. The new limit on the amount of replacement placards is set to four in two years without updating a medical certification. To renew your application, you will only be required to return the DMV renewal notice by mail every six years without having to obtain a medical certification.

Motorcycle Training Certificate Accepted In Lieu of Skills Test

Those over 21 years of age may now apply for motorcycle license, without the requirement of the motorcycle skills test. The DMV will accept a certificate of satisfactory completion from any motorcyclist-training school approved by the California Highway Patrol. Individuals under 21 years of age are still required to pass a novice motorcyclist-training program.

Firefighter License Plate Program for Surviving Family Member

Under this law, a surviving spouse, partner, or a child of a deceased firefighter are eligible for a California Firefighter Special License Plate for their vehicles.

DMV to Regulate Private Carriers

Starting July 1, 2018, the DMV will be regulating non-business carriers of passengers, the function previously performed by California Public Utilities Commission.

New Transportation Improvement Fee

Based on your vehicle’s current value, you will be required to pay the Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) during registration or renewal. The fee ranges from $25 – $175 and applies to all renewal notices due January 1, 2018. A Road Improvement Fee will also be added to the collection beginning July 1, 2020 for zero-emission vehicles model year 2020 and beyond.

Vehicles with Market Value Range Transportation Improvement Fee

Between $0 and $4,999 – $25

Between $5,000 and $24,999 – $50

Between $25,000 and $34,999 – $100

Between $35,000 and $59,999 – $150

$60,000 and higher – $175



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