Changes In California Traffic Laws In 2019

As you get ready to ring in the New Year, California commuters should take notice of some important changes in California traffic laws in 2019. While there are many new laws set to take effect, some of the most important for drivers include the following:

Gender Identification

As of 2019, California drivers will be able to designate their chosen gender on their driver’s license. With the passing of SB 169, drivers can choose from male, female, or nonbinary. The chosen gender will be displayed on new ID’s, with nonbinary being represented by “X”.

License Plates

AB 516 will bring changes to the way that dealers issue license plates. Under the new law, dealers must affix temporary plates to the vehicle. No vehicles can be driven off the lot without plates.

DUI Ignition Locks

Once only mandated in certain counties, DUI ignition locks will now be required for any driver who is deemed a “repeat DUI offender”, or a DUI offender who has caused injury to someone else. Under SB 1046, drivers required to use the device must do so for 1-2 years.

Smog Checks

Drivers holding onto vehicles that are more than seven or eight years old will now be required to pay an annual $25 smog abatement fee. This law (AB 1274) replaces previous laws that allowed exemptions for vehicles six years or older.

Cyclist Crashes

AB 1755 extends felony hit-and-run laws to include cyclists who are hit while using a bike path. The new law also requires cyclists to stop at the accident scene.


There are two relevant helmet law changes coming in 2019. AB 2989 removes the requirement that scooter operators over 18 years old must wear a helmet. AB 3077, however, cracks down on cyclists under 18 who do not use a helmet. AB 3077 allows officers to issue a “fix-it ticket” to minors not wearing helmets.