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As the New Year gets started, Californians have a number of new roadway laws and regulations to keep in mind. Eight major traffic law changes that went into effect on January 1 will keep California motorists on their toes and hopefully help prevent auto accidents in 2012.

Updated Child Safety Seat Requirements, Ignition Interlocks for DUI Offenders Among Changes for 2012

Some of the new requirements will affect a broad range of California drivers. For instance, children will now have to ride in a car seat or booster seat until they reach the age of eight or the height of four feet, nine inches. In addition, all vehicles are now prohibited from crossing double parallel solid white lines (commonly found in carpool lanes) except where explicitly permitted.

Others changes will only be pertinent for drivers facing certain traffic offenses. Chief among these:

• Repeat drunk driving offenders who have had their licenses revoked for ten years due to three or more DUIs will be allowed to apply for a restricted driver license after five years if they agree to use an Ignition Interlock Device

• Those convicted of reckless driving will be able to apply for a restricted license before completing their yearlong driver's license suspension if they install an Ignition Interlock Device and meet other specific requirements

• Drivers will continue to be required to stop and submit to sobriety checkpoints; however, police will be prohibited from impounding a vehicle for 30 days if the driver's only offense at a checkpoint is failing to hold a valid driver license

One of the new laws only pertains to a limited geographic region: a stretch of Vasco Road that runs between Alameda County and Contra Costa County has been designated as a double fine zone until 2017. The threat of substantially increased penalties on this roadway could translate into safer driving and fewer Oakland fatal accidents in 2012.

The final major legal changes pertain to regulation of Electric Vehicles (EV) and advertisements on vehicles. When parked in a designated Electric Vehicle parking spot, EVs must be plugged in for refueling or face being towed, and local governments will be able to regulate advertising signs on any motor vehicle left standing upon a public street, excepting signs permanently affixed to a vehicle for decoration, identification or display that do not extend beyond the standard dimensions of the vehicle.

Addressing California Traffic Accident Injuries

Some of the 2012's new laws could mean a safer year for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. But others make it easier for those convicted of unsafe driving offenses get back on the road, albeit with certain restrictions. If you are injured through the fault of such a driver, or anyone else on the highways, you may have a legal cause of action; contact a California personal injury law firm to learn more about your right to financial compensation.

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The Injury Law Center - Law Offices of Jack Bloxham is a personal injury plaintiff law firm that represents clients in negligence and wrongful death litigation related to motor vehicle accidents of all kinds in the Greater Bay Area of Northern California; most notably in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County, and Solano County. The Injury Law Center has offices in San Jose, Walnut Creek, Fremont - Hayward, and Oakland. If you are handicapped and unable to come to one of our offices we will come to you. We're usually just minutes away if you live in San Jose, San Francisco, Pittsburg, Richmond, Dublin, Concord, Fairfield, Benicia, Vallejo, Los Gatos, Napa, Pleasanton, Livermore, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Santa Cruz, San Mateo or other nearby Bay Area town or city.