New year brings new California DMV laws

New year changes for DMV

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With 2018 just days away there are some new laws coming to the DMV handbook that all California drivers should be aware of.

Only a few will go into effect on January 1st, the rest will happen July 1st.

The new year will say hello to the recreational use of marijuana, but the DMV is cracking down on its use while driving.

Come January 1st, it will be illegal for drivers to smoke while not only behind the wheel but also as a passenger.

"Nothing is going to change," said Santa Barbara resident Arnold Spechrer, who thinks the new law is useless.

"People are going to smoke and drink regardless of what the government says," said Spechrer.

The number of collisions caused by drivers impaired by drugs is on the rise in California. Since 2006, over 63 percent of fatal collisions were caused by substances other than alcohol. With recreational marijuana sales expected to take off in a matter of days, hundreds of officers have undergone intensive training on identifying drivers impaired by substances like prescription drugs and cannabis.

"It is a concern," said Morro Bay resident Bill Bowes. "But I am confident over time we will solve the problem because there is no easy breathalyzer like there is for alcohol. The sad part about that is that people will take the medicinal marijuana and they will have it in their system for a long time and they might not be impaired, but it will show up that way."

Also starting January 1st, drivers will have to pay more for registering and renewing their vehicle, thanks to the Transportation Improvement Fee. It can range from $25 - $175 based on the value of your car.

One law that many seemed to agree on is cracking down on people parking in the disabled area. Come July 1st, drivers will need to provide proof of true name and birthday.

"It is a very good idea," said Bowes. "I know many people who just have a handicap sticker and they use it but they shouldn't be using it. They got it for an injury years ago and they still have it. I think this is a very positive move."

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