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New state laws for drivers and bikers for 2014


People in San Diego know that the new year means plenty of changes for people's personal lives and aspirations, but they might fail to realize that there are also new laws that go into effect on a statewide and federal level. Some of these laws, such as the Affordable Care Act, draw loads of attention, but drivers in California should also be aware of some subtle changes in state law that could have serious repercussions.

Drivers under the age of 18 in California should be aware that, starting in 2014, they are no longer allowed to use a cell phone for any reason while behind the wheel. Texting and driving has been illegal for a while, but the new law goes a bit further to prevent the dangers associated with distracted drivers. Experience has shown that distractions of any kind can lead to a greater risk of car accidents, especially amongst younger, less experienced drivers.

Another new law, which won't go into effect until September of this year, requires that drivers stay at least three feet away from cyclists when passing on public roads. This new law is intended to protect cyclists amid an increase in the popularity of this method of transportation and recreation. Cyclists are extremely vulnerable on the roads due to their relatively low visibility and lack of protection in the event of a car accident. Hopefully this law will limit cyclist fatalities and serious injuries.

Despite new safety-oriented laws, car accidents are a fact of life in California. Drivers should always obey traffic laws and practice defensive driving, but unfortunately not everyone follows these rules. When a person is injured in a car accident caused by another person, the person responsible for the crash could be required to pay compensation to the victim, including monetary damages for their pain and suffering.

Source: Fox News, New car laws drive into the books in 2014," Liza Barth, Dec. 31, 2013

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