gavel and justice scale on a desk

New Driving Laws Taking Effect in 2017

Each year, states update existing driving laws and establish new ones in an effort to keep up with technological advancements and make the roads we travel as safe as possible. Driving laws can vary widely from state-to-state and keeping current on them is essential for every driver. Here is a list of the new driving laws going into effect in 2017:


  • House Bill 2135 – While companies like Uber and Lyft already have background checks built into their hiring process, Arizona has enacted a new law in an effort to help protect all passengers. This law requires all ride-hailing drivers to be subject to vehicle inspections and background checks before being hired. Drivers will also be required to carry a minimum of $250,000 in liability insurance while passengers are in the vehicle.1


  • Assembly Bill 51 – Legalizes motorcycle lane-splitting, which is defined as the practice of motorcycles driving between lanes of traffic, and authorizes the California Highway Patrol to develop lane-splitting guidelines.
  • Assembly Bill 53 – Drivers of motor vehicles must properly secure children under two years old in rear-facing child passenger restraint systems, unless the child weighs more than 40 pounds or is 40 or more inches tall.
  • Assembly Bill 287 – Establishes the Consumer Automatic Recall Safety (CARS) Act, which says that rental companies must suspend rental of vehicles until the vehicles are repaired and that they do so within 48 hours of the announcement of a manufacturer’s recall. The law also requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to send a disclosure statement with every registration renewal.
  • Assembly Bill 1289 – Like Arizona, California just passed laws to protect passengers using ride-hailing services requiring that all Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft etc.) perform background checks on their drivers prior to employment. California companies are prohibited from hiring registered sex offenders, specified felons and anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence, misdemeanor assault or battery, or driving under the influence in the last seven years.
  • Senate Bill 839 – The price for renewing, transferring or duplicating environmental license plates increases $10 and will now total $53.
  • Assembly Bill 1785 – Handheld cellphone use is banned and phones are now required to be mounted on the vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console so the driver’s view of the road isn’t impaired. Read more about this bill.
  • Senate Bill 491 – The minimum damage threshold required for a motor vehicle crash to be reported is increased to $1,000.
  • Senate Bill 1046 – Extends the program requiring most DUI-convicted drivers to install ignition interlock devices that prevent the operation of vehicles while intoxicated. The law provides that offenders can obtain a restricted driver’s license if they install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. This law applies to four counties – Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties – but will not apply to the rest of the state until 2019.
  • Senate Bill 1429 – Vehicles manufactured in 1980 and older can be issued vintage license plates. The law previously only extended to vehicles manufactured in 1972 and older.2


  • House Bill 4105 – Motorcyclists are now allowed to use blue brake lights.
  • House Bill 5651 – Drivers can now select their birthday as the expiration date for their vehicle registration.
  • House Bill 5912 – Clarifies that bicyclists should be given the same rights as other drivers on the road. This includes right of way.
  • House Bill 6006 – Motorists must change lanes when approaching a vehicle with its hazard lights on.
  • House Bill 6010 – Dropping or throwing objects off an overpass with the intention of striking a motor vehicle is considered vehicular endangerment.
  • Senate Bill 0805 – License plates must be clearly visible.
  • Senate Bill 2835 –Vehicles must come to a complete stop before passing school buses stopped on public school highways.3


  • House Bill 3146 – The Impaired Driving Elimination Act (IDEA) moves DUI cases to district courts, providing harsher punishment for drivers found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The law revokes the licenses of repeat offenders and allows district attorneys to create treatment plans for offenders. The state will also create an offender database to better track DUIs.4

Mercury wishes all a safe motoring year. Together, we can reduce the number of driving accidents, injuries and fatalities by following the law. Learn more about driving laws in your state by visiting its DMV website.


1 “Recent Licensing Changes.” Arizona Department of Transportation, n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.

2 “DMV Reminds Motorists of New 2017 Laws.” Action News Now, 20 Dec. 2016. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.

3 “New Laws: Illinois Laws That Take Effect January 1.” ABC 7 Eyewitness News, 20 Dec. 2016. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.

4 “More Than 225 Laws Go Into Effect in Oklahoma.” News on 6, 1 Nov. 2016. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.