A number of new laws approved by the California Legislature in 2019 will take effect Jan. 1 (or, in some cases, later):
License points for distracted driving (AB 47): Current law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone in a handheld manner. If found in violation, the offense is punishable by a fine.
However, beginning July 1, 2021, this new law will levy an additional penalty. A point will be added to a driver’s record for each hands-free violation occurring within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense.
Peace officer use of deadly force (AB 392): Beginning Jan. 1, the use of deadly force by a peace officer is justifiable when the officer reasonably believes it is necessary, amending the reasonable force standard to “objectively reasonable force.”
This new law requires law enforcement agencies to rewrite use-of-force policy and provide mandatory training to all peace officers in order to comply with the new law.
Traffic control for bicycles (AB 1266): This new law allows bicycles to travel straight through a right- or left-hand turn-only lane while at an intersection, if an official traffic control device indicates the movement is permitted.
Transportation omnibus bill (AB 1810): Allows motor carriers of property to continue operating for 30 days past their permit expiration date, under specified circumstances.
Legislation also now prohibits the consumption of cannabis, in any manner, by passengers in a bus, taxicab, pedicab, limousine, house car or camper. This exemption currently is applicable only to alcoholic beverages consumed by passengers in these types of vehicles.
Wildlife salvage permits (SB 395): Directs the Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct a wildlife-collision data collection pilot program.
Additionally, this bill authorizes the Fish and Game Commission to establish a wildlife salvage pilot program authorizing the issuance of a permit for removal and recovery of deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and wild pigs killed because of a collision with a vehicle - if the wild game meat is used for human consumption.