The New Year ushered in new laws across the nation.  Here is a sampling of new laws in various states that will affect motorists.

California:  Over 800 new laws went into effect in the Golden State.  Drivers could be affected by:

Transfer of ownership of a vehicle to a relative or revocable living trust is now prohibited until all toll-violations or parking fines and penalties known by the DMV are paid by the transferee.  This will keep drivers from evading paying for toll or parking citation by just transferring the title of a car to another family member. 

Teenage drivers under the age of 18 are now prohibited from using an electronic wireless communications device to read, write or send a text-based communication while driving -- even if with a hands-free devices.  Teens, thus can't engage in voice-activated texts, which previously was allowed.  This law also closes a loophole teens had been exploiting of using a tablet or laptop instead of cellphone behind the wheel.

The statute of limitations increased for hit-and-run collisions that result in serious permanent injury or death from three years to six years from the date of the accident.

Going into effect September 16, 2014, drivers will need to provide a three feet distance between the vehicle when passing a bicyclist.  If a motorist is unable to provide this minimum passing distance -- due to roadway or traffic conditions -- then the driver must slow down to a “reasonable and prudent speed” Base fine for a citation is $35, if the bicyclist is injured due to violating the law, an additional $220 fine can be imposed.

Colorado: Everyone may be talking about Colorado's recreational marijuana laws that started on January 1,but other laws also went live on this day.  One specifically concerning drivers that drink.

As of January 1, drivers that are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher (down from the previous threshold of .17) or refuse to take a test of breath, saliva, blood or urine (as required by law) will be labeled a persistent drunk driver.  This designation comes with heftier fines and penalties.