Vehicle registration fees going up, new traffic laws taking effect in 2018

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SAN DIEGO — With the new year one week away, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding drivers about new traffic laws taking effect in 2018.

Due to a change in the road maintenance and rehabilitation program, the cost of operating a vehicle in the state is set to rise. The program adds a fee to those registering their vehicles or renewing their registration. Fees range from $25 to $175 depending on the market value of the vehicle.

Widespread new laws address numerous issues. Among them:

— Cannabis in Vehicles: Prohibits smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a vehicle passenger;

— Buses and Seatbelts: Effective July 1, 2018, a passenger on a bus equipped with seat belts will be required to be properly restrained by a safety belt. This law also prohibits children between 8 and 16 years of age from being transported on a bus, unless properly restrained by a safety belt or child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards;

— DUI: Passenger for Hire: Beginning July 1, 2018, it will be unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense;

— Parking Violations for Registration or Driver License Renewal: Creates a process for low-income Californians with outstanding parking violations to repay their fines and penalties prior to the parking violation being reported to the DMV. It also allows for someone with outstanding parking penalties and fees to obtain or renew a driver license;

— Disabled Person Parking Placards and Plates: Makes changes to the administration of the Disabled Person Parking Placard and Disabled Person License Plate Program, including requiring applicants to provide proof of true full name and birthdate. The law also will limit the number of replacement disabled person parking placards an applicant can request without obtaining a medical certification to four in two years;

— Motorcycle Training Courses: Authorizes the DMV to accept a certificate of satisfactory completion of any motorcyclist-training program approved by the CHP in lieu of the required motorcycle skills test. Applicants for an original motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement under 21 years of age continue to be required to complete a novice motorcyclist-training program;

— Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program: Beginning January 1, 2018, the DMV is required to begin collecting at the time of registration or renewal the Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) ranging from $25-$175, based on the current value of the vehicle.

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