There is good news for automobile insurance policyholders, consumers in general and people who don't trust lawyers, but there is bad news for drug pushers, hazardous waste producers and drunk drivers. Taking effect this New Year's Day are about 1,360 bills passed by the 1986 Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian. Here is a sampling of the new laws:
Speeding Trucks--In an effort to crack down on speeding trucks, a limited number (15) of California Highway Patrol cars with civilian paint jobs and CHP emblems on the doors can be used to enforce traffic safety laws. (SB 1873 Seymour (R-Anaheim)).
Bicycle Helmets--Children 4 years of age or younger or weighing less than 40 pounds are required to wear safety helmets when riding as bicycle passengers. (AB 1019 O'Connell (D-Carpinteria)).
Tour Buses--Tour buses must undergo safety inspections every 45 days and bus driver requirements are tightened in response to an accident last May in which 22 Southern California senior citizens were killed when a gambling tour bus plunged into the Walker River. (AB 3262 Katz (D-Sepulveda) and AB 3666 Hayden (D-Santa Monica)).
Driver's Tests--Beginning July 1, police officers can order drivers whom they deem to be dangerous and physically or mentally impaired to retake the driver's license test within five working days or face possible license suspension. (AB 2641 Katz (D-Sepulveda)).
Teen Drunks--Minors who drive with 0.05% blood alcohol content--one-half of the adult drunk-driving standard--will face a maximum $250 fine. They also will be required to participate in an alcohol abuse education program. (AB 2831 Killea (D-San Diego)).
Ignition Locks--Judges will be allowed to order convicted second-offense drunk drivers to install ignition devices that will prevent them from starting their cars if they have consumed more than about two drinks. The program will operate initially in four counties, yet to be determined. (AB 3939 Farr (D-Carmel)).
Manslaughter--The maximum penalty for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is increased to 10 years in state prison from the present eight. (AB 2558 Duffy (D-Citrus Heights)).
Alcohol Education--Convicted drunk drivers will have to pay an additional $50 fee to be used for alcohol abuse education classes offered by the schools and community groups. (SB 920 Seymour (R-Anaheim)).
Accident Charges--Drunk drivers who cause traffic accidents can be charged up to $1,000 of the costs of emergency response vehicles and personnel. (SB 1699 Royce (R-Anaheim)).
Vehicle Sales--The court can order the forfeiture and sale of a motor vehicle used by a convicted drunk driver involved in a serious bodily injury accident who has had a similar prior conviction within the past five years. (AB 3962 Sher (D-Palo Alto)).
Notification--Aimed at "midnight dumpers," all persons who generate, treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste will be required to notify the state of their activities by Jan. 1, 1988, or face a fine of up to $500 per day until the notification is made. (AB 1263 Margolin (D-Los Angeles)).
Fines--The state will have the legal right to order toxic polluters to pay fines for law violations without first having to go to court and to conduct increased on-site inspections to detect possible violations. (SB 2424 Torres (D-Los Angeles)).
Disposal--Dumping of untreated hazardous waste and liquid hazardous waste in landfills will be severely restricted, starting in May, 1990, to encourage development of alternative disposal technologies. (SB 1500 Roberti (D-Los Angeles)).
Facility Planning--Citizens will be able to protest local governmental decisions regarding hazardous waste facilities under a new appeals process. The public is also encouraged to participate in the siting process. (AB 2948 Tanner (D-El Monte)).
Hot Line--A toll-free telephone toxic substances hot line will be available to answer callers' questions regarding hazardous waste regulations and laws. (SB 571 Roberti (D-Los Angeles)).
Public Records--State and local agencies are required during normal working hours to provide the public access to records of hazardous waste activity. (AB 4019 Katz (D-Sepulveda)).
Risk Precautions--Businesses handling acutely hazardous materials must register with the state and file plans on how to prevent and cope with potential spill accidents. (AB 3777 LaFollette (R-Northridge)).
Water Treatment--False and deceptive advertising practices aimed at selling water treatment devices are prohibited, and all such devices sold in California must meet state requirements. (SB 2361 McCorquodale (D-San Jose) and SB 2119 Torres (D-Los Angeles)).
Air Pollution--The maximum potential penalty for serious industrial violations of the state's air quality laws is increased from $1,000 to $25,000 per day. (AB 1276 Campbell (D-Richmond)).