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Below is a list of the key highway safety laws in California. For more information, contact the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Aggressive Driver Actions Defined by Statute Comments
  Amended reckless driving law to include causing certain bodily injuries to people other than driver. Specifically cites drivers engaged in speed contests.

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and State Highway Safety Office.

Hand-held Ban All Cell Phone Ban Text Messaging Ban Crash
Data
School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers All Drivers School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers
Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Child Restraint Required
unless indicated, # refers to Yrs.(Lbs.)
Adult Safety Belt Permissible
unless indicated, # refers to Yrs.(Lbs.)
Maximum Fine
1st Offense
<8 (and <57") in rear seat if available 8 - 15 (or >57") $100

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Per Se Laws for Drugs (Forbidding Prohibited Substances in Driver's Body) DEC/DRE Programs
(Providing Law Enforcement Training)
  Yes

Source: State Highway Safety Office.

Inc. Penalty for High BAC Admin. License Susp. on 1st Offense Limited Driving Privileges During Susp. Ignition Interlocks Vehicle and License Plate Sanctions Alcohol Exclusion Laws Limiting Treatment
*Meeting Federal Requirements
.15 4 months After 30 days Discretionary

Mandatory for all convictions in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties (pilot project)
Impoundment, vehicle confiscation Yes   Yes

Sources: Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and State Highway Safety Office.

Learner Stage Intermediate Stage Full Privilege
Min. Age
(Years/ Months)
Min. Age
(Years/ Months)
Min.
Duration
(Months)
Required
Supervised
Driving Hours
(Night Hours)
Min. Age
(Years/ Months)
Nighttime Driving Restriction Passenger
Restriction
(except family, unless noted)
15 / 6 6 50 (10) 16 11 p.m. - 5 a.m.
(secondary enforcement)
First 12 mos.–no pass. <20
(secondary enforcement)
17

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Motorcyclists Bicyclists
Universal Helmet Law (Year Enacted) Partial Law Universal Helmet Law Repealed
1992     <18

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Length of Regular Renewal Cycle (Yrs.) Provisions for Mature Drivers
5 >70: no mail renewal

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Type of Law Who is Covered (Yrs.) In What Seat Maximum Fine 1st Offense
Primary >16 All $162 ($20 bas fine + $142 in penalties and assessments)

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

State Law
Permitted

Sources: Segway LLC and State Highway Safety Office.

Checkpoints Conducted? Frequency Legality
Yes 2,500+ annually Upheld under state and federal Constitution

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Rural Interstates Urban Interstates Other Limited Access Roads
Cars
(mph)
Trucks
(mph)
Cars
(mph)
Trucks
(mph)
Cars
(mph)
Trucks
(mph)
70 55 65 55 70 55

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Violation / State Law Permitted Locations/Criteria Citation Issued To / Liability Image Taken Penalties (Traditional Penalties)
Speed: No state law or programs
Red light: Permitted Statewide Registered owner/
Driver
Tag and driver $490 ($100 fine + $390 in penalties and assessments); 1 point
(same)
Rail crossing: Permitted Statewide

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Office.

Violations Affected Enhanced Penalties Workers Must Be Present Signs Must Be Present
Various Double original fine Yes Yes

Sources: National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse and State Highway Safety Office.