New Phone Restrictions While Driving

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Today’s Three Seconds: California AB 1785 Effective Jan. 1, 2017

navigation-13 Second StopBeginning today, the rules as to how drivers can use a smartphone and other handheld devices just got a whole lot stricter. Besides not being able to write or read texts by hand, it is now illegal to “hold and operate” a handheld wireless telephone or electronic communications device for any reason while driving. Bottom line: If a driver in CA still wants to use a phone while driving, they can’t be holding it in-hand. Now the device must be mounted or affixed to the vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console without obstructing the view of the road, and the driver may only use a single swipe or tap of the finger to operate a function or feature on the device.

Note: This new law does not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in a vehicle.

Learn more at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/.

Keep Them Safe

Child Passenger Restraints

rear-facing-child-seatJanuary 1st, 2017 ushers in new laws and regulations. In California one new law affecting motorist and parents will require child passengers under the age of two to be secured in rear-facing child safety seats.

Transporting children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts is key to keeping kids safe on the road. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child safety seats lower the risk of fatal injury for infants (under 1 year old) by 71% and by 54% for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in passenger cars.

NHTSA recommends using a Rear-Facing Car Seat for as long as possible: age 0 to 3 years or once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat. Rear-facing seats are the safest way to transport a child as in a crash the impact force is more evenly distributed along the outer shell of the seat, keeping the child’s neck and spine in line.

Be sure to read the instruction manual for your child safety seat as well as your vehicle owner’s manual on car seat installation. Check height and weight limits of the car seat and never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an active airbag.

Seat Belts in America

How Do You Rate?

Seat belt use in the United States has been steadily rising since 2000. There has also been a consistent decrease in unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in the daytime.

The overall National average seat-belt use in 2015 was 88.5%. The Western States have the highest average with 95.0% and the Midwest has a ways to go coming in at 81.7%.

As you can image, States that have Primary Seat Belt laws (an officer can ticket you for the sole reason you are not wearing a seat-belt) have a higher rate of seat belt use as compared to States that have secondary enforcement laws (requires an officer to pull you over for another reason before you can receive a citation for not using your seat belt.)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report No. DOT HS 812 243

Signals Crossed

Traffic Control Signals

Traffic lights help drivers navigate roadways in an orderly fashion. However, sometimes lights depart from the standard procedure and might leave you wondering what to do.

stop
If you see a Flashing Red signal light, treat it like a STOP sign. Stop completely and proceed when it is safe to do so. Don’t forget to follow the right-of-way rules.

 

 

yield
 

If you see a Flashing Yellow signal light, treat it like a YIELD sign. Slow down and be prepared to stop for cross traffic.

Lights Out

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Today’s Three Seconds: Traffic Signal Blackout

3 Second StopIf a power outage occurs and all the traffic signals are not working properly, proceed with caution and handle the intersection as you would an intersection with All-Way STOP signs. Remember your right of way protocol. If you and another vehicle on a cross street arrive at the intersection at the same time, then the vehicle on the left must let the vehicle to the immediate right go first.

What’s the Speed Limit?

Basic Speed Law

Driving is fast paced. There is a lot going on around your vehicle that needs to be taken into account. That’s why speed limits are important. They tell us a safe speed to travel at in a given area. However, sometimes even the posted speed limit is not safe. This is where the Basic Speed Law comes into effect. The Basic Speed Law tells us to not drive faster than is reasonable and prudent under the current conditions. That means you need to take into account everything going on in your driving environment and decide what the safest speed is. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a ticket.

When determining what a safe speed should be, some things to consider are:

  • How’s the weather? Is it a clear day? Is it raining?
  • What time of day is it? Is it daytime or nighttime?
  • How’s the flow of traffic? Is there traffic congestion?
  • Are there pedestrians? Is there a lot of foot traffic or children playing nearby?
  • Are you sharing the road? Is there a bicyclist on the road?
  • What’s the road like? Is the road wet or dry? Narrow or wide?

Know Where to Turn

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Today’s Three Seconds: Turn Lane Selection

3 Second StopPart of making a legal and safe turn is ending the turn in the correct lane.

If you are making a right turn, start the turn in the right-most lane and stay in the right lane until you have finished your turn.

If you are making a left turn, start the turn in the left-most lane. You may turn into any available lane if it is safe to do so, but note, if vehicles are also turning right onto the same road, they have the right-of-way into their corresponding lanes.

Intersection Etiquette

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Today’s Three Seconds: Gridlock

3 Second StopDriving in the city has many hazards including traffic. Heavy traffic can lead to gridlocked intersections. As frustrating and tedious as it is to have a green light and no room to move, remember that legally you cannot enter an intersection if you are not able to completely cross before the light turns red. In other words, being stopped in an intersection is a big no-no. The best thing to do in this situation is stay calm and wait your turn safely behind the crosswalk.

911

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Today’s Three Seconds: Emergency Vehicles

3 Second StopWhen an emergency vehicle is approaching with its siren blaring and at least one red light flashing, you must pull over to the right and stop. Just remember to never stop in an intersection. If you are already in the intersection, continue through the intersection and drive to the right as soon as it is safe and stop. If the road is so full that you cannot pull to the right, then you should just stop where you are. The emergency vehicle will go around you.

New Law Alert

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Today’s Three Seconds: Three Feet for Safety Act

sharetheroad3 Second StopAs of September 16, 2014, the Three Feet for Safety Act (California Vehicle Code 21760) went into effect. This law concerns motorists sharing the road with bicyclists. If you are in a motor vehicle traveling the same direction as a bicyclist, you may not pass the bicyclist “at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.” If it is not safe to pass a bicyclist due to the traffic or road conditions, be sure to slow down and follow at a safe distance until you are able to safely pass them. If you fail to follow this new law, you could be fined $35; and if a collision occurs “causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle” you could be fined $220.