As a result of the multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall in Sacramento, the vehicle license fee in California is nearly doubling starting Jan. 1, going from 0.65 percent to 1.15 percent of a car's value. The cost of a driver's license renewal is also going up from $28 to $31.
"Due to the budget crunch in Sacramento, legislators have targeted motorists in a number of new laws that increase fees," states Alice Bisno, AAA's senior vice president for public affairs. "Few areas of the state were spared by either increased fees or reduced service. We hope that with an improving economy there will be less need for increased fees but a continuing state budget deficit tells us that motorists may need to brace for more."
The increased fees are part of a slate of new legislation that takes effect for California drivers starting at midnight Friday.
One new law that looks out for motorists' pocketbooks is Assembly Bill 14 ... that is unless you like to pick up hookers in your car. It requires vehicle tow yards -- those places where your care ends up when you parked in the wrong place -- to accept all major forms of payment: credit cards, debit cards and cash. (Some tow yards have been notoriously fickle about forms of payment, thus sometimes stretching the amount of time and piling up charges as a car remains stowed).
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But the law also allows authorities to impound your vehicle for 30 days if you're caught picking up a prostitute and you have a prior conviction for such in the last three years. The same goes if you're nabbed for illegal dumping.
Assembly Bill 91 requires those DUI convicts in Los Angeles County who want to get their licenses back to install a an "ignition interlock device" that will prevent their cars from starting if they've been drinking. It's a pilot program that begins July 1 in this and other select counties.
Assembly Bill 62 permits front seat video screens in RVs, so long as they're out of the driver's sight line.
Finally, Senate Bill 240 permanizes the "move over law," which requires drivers to move over a whole lane -- when safe and possible -- if an emergency vehicle, tow truck or Caltrans truck is at the side of the road.