New Traffic Laws in California Drivers Should Know for 2024

California’s traffic laws saw several significant changes that went into effect with the new year. Some of these laws create new protections for drivers, while others create new liabilities. In either event, it is essential for California drivers to understand these new laws and how to navigate them.

Several of the new laws passed by the California State Legislature for 2024 may not have received widespread attention. Nonetheless, the following seven laws are now in effect throughout the state:

Assembly Bill 436

Cities and municipalities across California used to have the legal authority to prohibit or regulate cruising in low-rider vehicles. Assembly Bill 436 has now taken any such authority away from local authorities. Cities that had previously passed ordinances and regulations against low-rider cruising had those laws voided as of January 1, 2024.

Assembly Bill 645

Drivers may already be familiar with red light cameras that monitor intersections and capture images of individuals who are violating right-of-way or other traffic laws. Assembly Bill 645 creates a pilot program that will be deployed in these areas: 

  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • San Jose
  • Long Beach
  • Glendale

The five-year program is aimed at identifying and reducing the number of speeding drivers and will use cameras to enforce speeding laws in certain high-risk areas. Law enforcement officers can then face a monetary penalty that is based on how fast the driver was actually going.

Assembly Bill 2773

Assembly Bill 2773 seeks to cut down on pretextual stops. The bill requires law enforcement officers who conduct traffic stops or who detain pedestrians to now affirmatively state the reason for the stop before asking the person any questions.

Assembly Bill 256

Assembly Bill 256 is not set to take effect until July 1, 2024. When it does, law enforcement officers will not have the same ability to stop a vehicle based only on an expired registration tag. 

Instead, officers would not be able to stop a vehicle with an expired registration tag until two full months have passed since the expiration month stated on the tag. However, the officer could still stop the vehicle any time it committed a traffic violation or otherwise broke the law within the officer’s sight.

Assembly Bill 361

Communities with bicycle lanes will now have an easier time enforcing prohibitions against vehicles parking in these designated lanes, thanks to Assembly Bill 361. Images from cameras installed on parking enforcement vehicles can be used to support the issuance of a traffic citation to the offender.

Assembly Bill 1909

Another assembly bill related to bicycling is Assembly Bill 1909. This law was actually passed back in 2022, but it did not go into effect until January 2024. Now, bicyclists can proceed through intersections on either a green traffic light or on a pedestrian “Walk” signal. All other rights and responsibilities of bicyclists remain in force and effect.

Assembly Bill 413

In an effort to make crosswalks safer for both drivers and pedestrians, Assembly Bill 413 now makes it a crime for someone to park, stop, or stand with their vehicle within 20 feet of a marked crosswalk. 

If a curb extension is present, then the parking, standing, or stopping of a vehicle within 15 feet of the crosswalk is not permitted.

Two Assembly Bills Relating to Catalytic Converters

Two separate assembly bills have also gone into effect that affect California residents’ ability to possess catalytic converters. The catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system that converts the harmful byproducts of your combustion engine into water vapor and gasses that are less harmful to the environment.

Catalytic converter theft is rising in California, mainly because these auto components are made with precious metals that can be valuable if sold for scrap. Depending on the market, a catalytic converter can fetch anywhere from $100 to $500, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Assembly Bill 641 prohibits any person from having nine or more used catalytic converters in their possession at any one time without having a special license. 

Additionally, Assembly Bill 1519 makes it a misdemeanor to remove or alter any identifying markers, including VINs, from a catalytic converter. It is now also a crime under this law to possess a catalytic converter with any such marking removed or altered. 

Staying Abreast of Changes to California Traffic Laws

For California residents, it is vital to stay up to date with changes to traffic laws to stay safe and avoid potential legal hassles down the road. If you have questions regarding these new laws, a traffic lawyer can provide you with the answers and valuable insight you need to ensure you and your family can navigate them successfully.

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