Even though the State of California allows electric cars and other low-speed vehicles to operate on public roads, local authorities can still restrict or prohibit their use under certain circumstances. Visit Motor Vehicle Code 21266 to read more on the specific law.
If local authorities determine that low-speed vehicles are unsafe on their roads, they can prohibit their use or restrict the areas where they are allowed. If signs are posted in your town placing restrictions on electric cars and trucks, you must obey the local motor vehicle laws.
Many cities promote the use of electric vehicles for grocery shopping, recreation or everyday travel, but there are some cities that have deemed them unsafe to use on busy streets. These cars were originally designed to travel within the safety of closed communities. For that reason, they lack some basic safety features that are found in larger and faster vehicles. It is up to your local city officials to determine if the roads are safe enough for electric cars to share with larger gas-powered cars and trucks.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established some minimal safety standards for low-speed vehicles which include: headlights, taillights, stoplights, turn signals, reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, safety belts, and vehicle identification numbers. They also must be able to travel at least 20 but no more than 25 mph.
Even though basic safety features are standard, electric cars are not required to have safety features such as airbags, reinforced bumpers and roll bars. Because of this, crashes involving these vehicles often cause serious injuries to occupants. In a crash involving a larger truck or a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, the passengers in a low-speed vehicle would have a significant possibility of sustaining serious or life-threatening injuries. For this reason, the State of California limits travel of low-speed vehicles to roadways where the designated speed limit is 35 mph or less, and allows local authorities to limit their use even more if it is in the best interest of the public.
These electric-vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, and crashes between cars and low-speed vehicles are on the rise. According to a 2008 Energy Department estimate, there are approximately 45,000 of these vehicles on the roads. With all the tax incentives aimed at electric car purchases, you can expect to see more of these vehicles on the roads in the future.
If you have been injured in an accident involving an electric car, you have rights under the law. A good personal injury lawyer, such as those at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys may be able to help you with your claims. If you wait to file, you may run out of time. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, they can handle your case while you concentrate on healing from your injuries.
At Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys we want to keep everyone safe on the roads. Learn more about traffic laws for low-speed and high-speed vehicles at California Motor Vehicle Code.