Updated: February, 2019Summary of common traffic laws in California – Speed limits, License Renewals, Learners Permits, Drunk Driving Laws, and more. For more information, visit the California Office of Traffic Safety website.
In California, the maximum speed limit for cars is 70 mph. The maximum highway speed for trucks is only 55 mph. Speed limits vary by state and, in some cases, county-by-county. Always observe posted traffic laws and drive safely for the weather and road conditions.
California allows new drivers to get their learners permit at the age of 15 years and 6 months. You must have your provisional license for a minimum of 6 months. Drivers can then get their intermediate license at 16. An Intermediate License imposes restricts on when you are allowed to drive and how many passengers are allowed in the car, but allows you to drive yourself without an instructor in the car.
In California, drivers can obtain their full drivers license at the age of 17.
California requires you to renew your license every 5 years. Older drivers face additional renewal requirements:
The state of California enforces increased penalties for various violations within work zones. These increased penalties are known as Work Zone Enhancements. Workers must be present and there must be signs idicating road work is in progress in order for Work Zone Enhancements to be enforced. In California, Work Zone Enhacements are:
The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. Most states impose increased mandatory penalties for driving above a specific BAC. In California, driving with a BAC above 0.15% will trigger automatic enhanced minimum penalties.
Most states do not allow cellphone use while driving. In California, hand-held devices such as phones and mp3 player are banned for all drivers, regardless of age. Handheld devices bans prohibit talking on the phone without a hands-free system.
Texting while driving is banned in California. Texting while driving is concidered a primary offense. This means that you can be pulled over with texting as the only offense. In California, distracted driving is listed as a category on police crash report forms.
California requires seabelt use. Seatbelt enforcement is concidered primary, meaning you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for a seatbelt law violation in California is $20.00. Seatbelt laws very by state. Many states require passengers to wear seatbelts as well.