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New CA Traffic Laws: Smashing A Car To Save A Small Child Okay, New Fines For Drivers

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Starting Friday, several new traffic laws went into effect in California. Anyone who sees an unattended child in a hot car can now legally smash the window to save him or long as the child is six-years-old or younger.

Assembly Bill 2717, signed into law by the governor at the end of September, amends existing law concerning leaving children under the age of six unattended in vehicles.

It exempts a good Samaritan who rescues an endangered child from a locked car from civil and criminal liability, "if the property damage or trespass occurs while the person is rescuing a child age six or younger," according to the legislation.

Also starting with the New Year, A.B. 2285, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in September, establishes potential fines for motorists who do not slow down and, whenever possible, change lanes when encountering a Caltrans vehicle, tow truck, or any emergency vehicle with lights flashing on a highway.

Previously, penalties were only imposed when violators failed to take precautions and make a safe space for fire and law enforcement vehicles. The new law clarifies that Caltrans equipment and tow trucks conducting operations on a highway be given the same courtesy.

However, AB 2285 does not specify that motorists must move over if there might be conflicts with other drivers, or if conditions don't allow for it. But they must slow down. Otherwise, California Highway Patrol officers could write them a $50 ticket.

A third new law, AB 47, which was signed into law in 2019 and doesn't take effect until July 1, allows the California Department of Motor Vehicles to add a penalty point to a motorist's driving record if he or she receives two tickets in a 36-month span for talking on a mobile phone without a hands-free device. Texting while driving also applies under the statute.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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