New Driving Laws and New Fees for 2011

New laws increase the opportunities for ticket mailing

By Matt Baume and John Adams
|  Sunday, Jan 9, 2011  |  Updated 8:43 AM PDT
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New Driving Laws and New Fees for 2011

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Facing thousands of deaths each year on California roads, the state has taken steps to protect life and limb. A handful of new road safety laws take effect this month, according to Streetsblog.

Starting this month, dangerous drivers will have to answer for their deeds to the state, rather than to local jurisdictions. That will ensure uniform enforcement of speeding, DUI, and reckless endangerment laws, and also gets the state Department of Motor Vehicles involved.

The result will be fewer crazy drivers on the road, with the DMV empowered to revoke the license of habitual accident-causers.

Enablers of drunk drivers will face particularly stiff penalties. Adults who serve liquor to minors will be held accountable if those minors cause accidents.

And watch where you park: street sweepers will now be equipped with cameras to ticket cars illegally blocking the street - at least that'd mean they'd actually be out cleaning the street which isn't always the case.

The new laws come at a time when the City of Los Angeles is cash-strapped and singing the budget blues. However, the new laws aren't the only changes coming in 2011 as the price for breaking those laws (and the old ones) is changing too.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the state is adding $4 to the price of every traffic ticket to pay for emergency air transport services because of a revenue shortfall in Medi-Cal funding. It is set to generate an estimated $34 million a year through 2016, according to state estimates.

"We have so many different fees tacked on to traffic tickets and many tickets are in the $400 range now," Auto Club of Southern California spokeswoman Marie Montgomery told the Times. "They should be paying a fine because they broke the law but it's just a question of how disproportionate this is on drivers versus other taxpayers."

Are you thinking of solving the ticket dilemma by selling your car and investing in a bike? Well, new laws will also affect LA bikers with weaken penalties for bike theft..

The new threshold for "grand theft" is nearly a thousand dollars, which means that most bicycles won't qualify. Seems like there ought to be a way to consider factors like "suspect took victim's primary mode of transportation to work, depriving them of income" when charging thieves.

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