Starting Jan. 1, California law will again require drivers 70 and older to renew their license in person at a DMV office. In October 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom temporarily waived the California law requiring senior drivers to renew their licenses at a DMV field office and signed AB 174 in September 2021 to allow online or by mail renewals through the end of 2022. This temporary online option has helped Californians avoid DMV field offices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also beginning next week, the DMV is sending notices to Californians who have had their permanent Disabled Person Parking Placard for at least six years and asking them to confirm that they are still in need of one. The DMV will not renew placards for people who do not respond.
In another vehicle-related law change, dealers and manufacturers that sell new passenger vehicles equipped with a partial driving automation feature or provide any software update or vehicle upgrade that adds such a feature will be required to give a clear description of its functions and limitations.
Bicyclists will get new protection in 2023. Drivers are now required to change into another available lane, when possible, to pass cyclists, building on the current requirement for drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing. The law also permits Class 3 e-bike riders to use approved bicycle paths and trails, bikeways, and bicycle lanes.
In 2024, the law will allow cyclists to cross an intersection when a walk sign is on.
Veterans will be receiving new consideration in 2023 by the DMV. The $5 fee for obtaining a military “VETERAN” designation on a driver’s license or identification (ID) card has been eliminated, and certain veterans – a disabled veteran, Pearl Harbor survivor, prisoner of war, or to veterans who have received distinctions such as the Purple Heart or the Congressional Medal of Honor – will be able to display specialized license plates that exempt them from paying tolls on roads, bridges, highways, vehicular crossings, or other toll facilities.
Finally, California state courts next year will stop sending notices to the DMV for license suspensions for failure to appear.