New year brings new driving laws

January 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The new year is often seen as a "new beginning", and that includes new laws for motorists. Before you get behind the wheel in 2013, Action News examines the new laws drivers need to know.

As you ring in 2013, the State of California will introduce more than 800 new laws. One of those laws includes more restrictions for open containers on party buses and limos. AB-45 says if minors are present, someone who is at least 25 years old has to be there to take responsibility. It's a rule many local companies already practice.

"Well we already have that rule in effect. We automatically make sure that everyone has to be 21 and older to drink. It is a zero tolerance for us," said Charlie Roberts, Limo for You.

Another new law changes the way police test drivers for drugs. If a driver refuses a breathalyzer, urine tests are no longer an option -- but they can test your blood. DUI attorney Terry Wapner says blood tests are more accurate than a urine test. "They are not as reliable, there is not a good correlation between the level of impairment and what's in your urine for drugs."

With dui arrests in Fresno nearing 3,200 for the year, the Fresno Police Department is prepared for a busy last day of the year.

"Our efforts are out to catch the impaired drivers, but people still make poor choices," said Sgt. Bruce Owen, Fresno Police Traffic Division.

Not all laws are providing more restrictions for drivers. AB 1708 makes it easier for you to show your proof of registration and insurance on your vehicle -- you can now do so by using your mobile device."

Another big change in 2013 comes to those without a Social Security number. Now those without a Social Security number can apply for a California state license. This provides students like Juan Santiago peace of mind knowing he can legally drive to and from Fresno State. "Now instead of focusing on being afraid that we can be pulled over, instead we can be focusing on school."