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10 New California Laws Going Into Effect This Year: Part One


Part one of our list focuses on safety and personal injury. Many people joke about California’s love affair with new laws and regulations, and 2016 was a busy year for the legislature. State lawmakers passed 898 new laws that will go into effect in 2017, and we’ve gathered some of the big ones here.

As personal injury attorneys, we take a special interest in laws affecting safety and injury claims. We’re running down some of the bigger new developments here. In part 2, we’ll discuss some new laws involving civil rights, criminal proceedings and everyday facilities that you might encounter in day-to-day life.

  • No more handheld phones while driving – As we discussed in a recent post, the state outlawed all use of handheld electronic devices while driving, requiring motorists to use hands-free technology if they want to chat behind the wheel.
  • Right-to-die for terminally ill patients – Starting this year, terminally ill patients will be able to use experimental drugs to end their own lives. Insurers will be authorized, but not required, to cover these drugs and doctors will be shielded from disciplinary action if they recommend these drugs once other treatment options have been exhausted.
  • Protecting young athletes – Youth sports organizations will now share a requirement with high school athletic programs. They will be obligated to inform parents or guardians of athletes aged 17 or under who have been removed from play because of a suspected concussion.
  • Lane splitting for motorcyclists – A new law doesn’t explicitly authorize lane splitting, or motorcyclists driving between two lanes of traffic. However, it does allow the California Highway Patrol to set guidelines surrounding the practice, so we may see lane splitting made legal this year.
  • EpiPens at businesses – Businesses, colleges, and other venues may now purchase EpiPens form pharmacies in order to keep them on hand. This could have life-saving effects for people with allergies, but the makers of EpiPen have been criticized for recently raising their prices.