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New Vehicle Ownership, Driving Laws

Almost every year there are a large number of new California laws affecting vehicle owners and drivers, and 2020 is no exception.

California’s Clean Air Vehicle Decal Program has changed. Qualifying low- and zero-emission vehicles can use the high-occupancy vehicle or diamond lanes, regardless of how many people are in the vehicle. Currently the only valid decals are red and purple decals and those expire January 1, 2022. This year, DMV will issue orange decals that are good through 2024. In addition, Californian’s whose income is 80% or less than the statewide median can qualify for a new orange decal after purchasing a vehicle that had been previously issued a green or white clean air decal – which are now expired.

It’s easier to ride a motorized scooter. A new law removed motorized scooters from the list of vehicles requiring a Class M2 license or permit. If you hold a valid driver’s license or permit of any class, you can operate a motorized scooter.

Distracted driving convictions now go on driving records. In the past, a conviction for using a hand-held cell phone or tablet while driving did not bring a point against your driving record. The new law says that drivers will get a point against their driving record if found guilty of violating the hands-free law within 26 months of a prior conviction for the same offense.

It’s now legal to pass an operating trash truck. A new law says that if you approach and pass a stopped garbage truck, you have to change lanes into an available lane next to the truck and pass at a safe distance, considering safety and traffic conditions. The new law states, “The driver of a vehicle on a public street or highway approaching and overtaking a stopped waste service vehicle shall make a lane change into an available lane adjacent to the waste service vehicle and shall pass at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the waste service vehicle, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law.”

REAL ID deadline approaches. The upcoming federal enforcement date for the Real ID is October 1, 2020. That’s when the Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document (like the Real ID driver’s license) for people to board flights within the U.S. and to access secure facilities like federal courthouses and military bases. Don’t wait till the last minute! Visit to see what documents you need for a REAL ID and for a list of REAL ID frequently asked questions. More great REAL ID information is available on the Department of Homeland Security website: or online from the Transportation Security Administration:

Safe driving everyone! If you have questions about these new laws or would like to discuss your current and future personal insurance needs, feel free to email me at


As reported by The Press-Enterprise

Andrea Romo

Sales Associate | Woodland