New California laws concerning sideshows, driver’s phones


Can you review the new vehicle laws for 2022?

Dave Clausen

A: A major law was passed to curb sideshows but penalties won’t take effect for three more years. Beginning July 1, 2025, a court will be able to suspend a person’s driver’s license between 90 days and six months if the person is convicted of exhibition of speed and if the violation occurred as part of a sideshow.

Another new law is now in effect. Using a handheld cell phone while driving is currently punishable by a fine. As of July 1, 2021, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense results in a point being added to a driver’s record. This applies to talking or texting while driving, except for hands-free use, and to any use of these devices while driving by a person under 18 years of age.

Q: Some of your Roadshow readers are going to have a cow. The title of your column in Sunday’s newspaper was “Drivers contend that it’s hard to go with the flow on the I-80!” …

What’s with the “the” in front of I-80? I’m sure others will respond with dismay, too.

Bill Stock, Diane Whitworth and many others having a cow

A: I did not write that headline. It was written by people in Southern California. Their headlines, often excellent, also periodically cause me grief.

Q: Is there supposed to be some kind of signage posted where an HOV (non-FasTrak) lane ends? Not a lane that ends with a merge, but one where the HOV designation ends. I believe there is such a lane where southbound I-880 crosses 101. The HOV designation ends without a posted sign or anything painted on the lane surface.

Mike Hanlon, San Jose

A: Where a carpool lane ends, it is standard to put up a sign marking the end of the HOV lane.

Q: I have noticed that at least three stop lights on El Camino Real in Santa Clara, the Lawrence exit to El Camino being one, have the walk light turn on about 5-10 seconds before the green light (for traffic) in the same direction. They always changed at basically the same time in the past.

I noticed this while waiting for a green and seeing the walk come on while my light remained red.

Do you know if this is intentional, or if controllers are in some default mode? I suspect it might be the result of a safety or other study.

Russell Jones

A: Traffic signals on El Camino are, in some cases, a little wacky now as they get ready for a big repaving job this year. Stay tuned. A fix will come.


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