California drivers: Get ready for some new laws in 2018

As we roll into 2018, there are new laws and changes to existing laws that California drivers need to be aware of.

While recreational use of marijuana will take effect January 1, there are a number of new laws going into effect. For drivers, it will be illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana while operating a vehicle. It will also be illegal for passengers to smoke or ingest marijuana, too. Motorists will lose points for this.

Starting January 1, you will have to pay more for registering and renewing your vehicle, thanks to the Transportation Improvement Fee. That fee can range from $25 - $175 based on the value of your vehicle. For example, if your vehicle's market value is between $25k and $35k, the fee would be $100. For a full list, click here.

Starting July 1, if you operate a vehicle for hire (Uber, Lyft, etc), then it will be illegal to have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more while transporting someone. Penalties for violating this law include suspending licenses.

Starting July 1, if you ride a bus that has seatbelts, the law will require passengers to use them. This also goes for kids between the ages of 8 and 16, unless they're already restrained by a device that meets federal safety standards.

If you have any unpaid parking tickets or fees and are considered a low-income driver, you will be able to pay those off before any violations are reported to the DMV. The law also allows those with outstanding parking tickets to renew their license or vehicle registration.

If you drive with a disabled person parking placard or license plate, you must provide proof of true name and birthdate. The law will also limit the number of replacement placards to just four within a two year period, unless you have medical certification.

If you plan on driving a motorcycle, the DMV will accept a certificate of satisfactory completion of any motorcyclist-training program approved by the CHP in lieu of the required motorcycle skills test.

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