L.A. Can't Drive

Applying Makeup While Moving in Rush Hour Freeway Traffic

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Summer is over, at least when it pertains to kids going back to school. So as the roads get more congested, watch out for oblivious drivers like this brunette in her new BMW 428i on the eastbound 134 Fwy near Forest Lawn. We snapped this photo during rush hour. Let me ask you this: What better time is there to put on mascara then during unpredictable stop and go traffic? Yes, you see her brake lights lit in this photo, but make no mistake she was definitely focused on making perfect lashes staring into her visor mirror while her car was still moving forward. Seriously, WTF people? Is it so much harder to budget 5 more minutes in the morning so that you can do this shit before you leave the house? And I’m sure her “incognito” unplated vehicle gave her a sense of temporary anonymity from any repercussions for her actions, though a fender bender and black smudges on her eyeball would probably be enough to hike up her insurance premiums. #scratchedcornea

New California Driving Laws for 2017

Before we talk about the new laws that went into effect January 1, 2017, here is a submission from a couple days ago:

“Black Volvo S40, Lic Plate #4ZHD***, White male driving north on Beverly Drive just south of Lexington, driving in parking lane in order to bypass long line of cars waiting to turn onto Coldwater Canyon Blvd. He was very aggressively trying to cut off other drivers, threatening to hit their cars with his. Pictures I took did not come through for some reason :(.”

Fortunately, I don’t make it out to Beverly Hills that much these days. Entitled, aggressive drivers abound everywhere, but they are especially plentiful in Beverly Hills.

Now the person mentioned that pictures didn’t come through. Technical glitches aside, it’s harder to get submissions of photos for this site now and for good reason. There’s a new law on the books that now makes it illegal to even hold a cell phone or other electronic device in your hand. Previously, talking on the phone without a hands-free device or texting was illegal. But at least you were able to dial a number or even pick up your phone briefly to check where you’re going on Waze. Now, you can’t even do that. With that said, let’s see how well traffic cops enforce this law. I personally saw them out in full force the first week and change of January, but since then I still see a litany of drivers who probably don’t even know that cell phone use in the car became more restrictive. I’ve also seen more than a handful of police vehicles cruising right past civilian drivers who had cell phones in hand.

This law may be the death of this site since it doesn’t give any allowance to vehicles stopped in traffic. As written, you can get cited for even touching away at a phone mounted on your dash while stopped at a red light. However, I would be OK with that reality if the law is enforced, since we could all do with less distracted drivers on the road.

So without further ado, here are the laws you may have overlooked that affect you today:

Use of Electronic Wireless Devices (AB 1785, Quirk): Driving a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communications device will be prohibited, unless the device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield or is mounted/affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road. The driver’s hand may only be used to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger, but not while holding it. The law does not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in a vehicle.

Child Safety Seats (AB 53, Garcia): This law requires a parent, legal guardian, or the driver of a motor vehicle to properly secure a child who is younger than 2 years of age in an appropriate rear-facing child passenger restraint system, unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches in height (3 feet, 4 inches).

Motorcycle Lane Splitting (AB 51, Quirk): This law defines “lane splitting” as driving a two-wheeled motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane. The law authorizes the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to develop educational guidelines relating to lane splitting in a manner that would ensure the safety of motorcyclists, drivers, and passengers. In developing these guidelines, the law requires the CHP to consult with specified agencies and organizations that have an interest in road safety and motorcyclist behavior.

Vehicle Registration Fee (SB 838, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review): This law increases the vehicle registration fee on every vehicle or trailer coach from $43 to $53 beginning April 1, 2017.

Environmental License Plate (SB 839, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review): This law increases the fee for the issuance of Environmental License Plates from $48 to $53, starting July 1, 2017. This law also increases the fee for the renewal, retention, transfer, or duplication of Environmental License Plates (personalized) from $38 to $43, starting January 1, 2017.

Accident Reporting (SB 491, Committee on Transportation and Housing): This law increases the minimum financial threshold for property damage that is required to be reported to the DMV from $750 to $1,000 when a driver is involved in a motor vehicle collision.

Vehicle Safety Recalls (AB 287, Gordon): This law enacts the Consumer Automotive Recall Safety (CARS) Act, and requires the DMV to include a general advisory regarding vehicle recalls and needed repairs on each vehicle registration renewal notice. This law prohibits a dealer or a rental car company from renting or loaning a vehicle with a manufacturer’s recall no later than 48 hours after receiving the notice—until the vehicle has been repaired. This law gives a limited exception for a licensed dealer or a rental car company with a fleet of 34 or fewer loaner or rental vehicles. The law authorizes the DMV to suspend or revoke a vehicle dealer’s license if they violate the CARS Act.

Year of Manufacture License Plates (SB 1429, Nielsen): This law expands the Year of Manufacture (YOM) license plate program to include vehicles and license plates manufactured through 1980. This law benefits owners of vintage motor vehicles who obtain license plates from the year corresponding to the vehicle’s model-year, and wish to use those vintage plates in lieu of regular license plates. Such plates are commonly found from different sources, including relatives, garage sales, estate sales, etc. The program will include the blue and yellow license plates issued for use on California motor vehicles from 1970 until 1980.

Background Checks of Drivers of Transportation Network Companies (AB 1289, Cooper): A transportation network company (TNC) will be required to perform a comprehensive background check of all their drivers. This law also specifies penalties for a TNC that violates or fails to comply with this requirement. A TNC will be prohibited from contracting with, employing, or retaining a driver if they are registered on the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender public website, has been convicted of specified felonies, or within the previous seven years, has been convicted of a misdemeanor assault or battery, domestic violence, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Any TNC in violation of the specified requirements is subject to a penalty of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000 for each offense.

Installing Counterfeit or Nonfunctional Air Bags (AB 2387, Mullin): This law prohibits knowingly and intentionally manufacturing, importing, installing, reinstalling, distributing, or selling any device intended to replace an air bag system in any motor vehicle if the device is a counterfeit or nonfunctional air bag system, or does not meet federal safety requirements. The law also prohibits selling, installing, or reinstalling any device that would cause a vehicle’s diagnostic system to fail to warn when the vehicle is equipped with a counterfeit, nonfunctional, or a case in which no air bag was installed. This violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine and/or up to a one year in county jail.

Stubborn Ignorance of Yielding to Pedestrians and Oncoming Traffic

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Wow does time fly, serious apologies for not updating the site with new submissions. Here’s one we got a few months ago via text message:

“This guy. Takes a quick left in front of oncoming traffic, instead of yielding, and then brakes in front of oncoming traffic because he didn’t see the pedestrians in his way. So, oncoming traffic has to slam on their brakes and slide, nearly striking the driver, who manages to get out of the way before an impact. In other words, this driver failed to yield to oncoming traffic and nearly caused a very bad accident.

When I approached the driver after he parked, he took ZERO responsibility. In other words, he didn’t understand he was supposed to yield to oncoming traffic. Sadly, I’m not even sure he understood what the word yield means. His excuse for making an illegal turn was to try to blame it on me. He didn’t understand that regardless of what speed you think a driver is or isn’t going, the law requires that you yield.

It’s sad that we are giving people driver’s licenses who don’t understand the law. Clearly, this guy didn’t. He didn’t get that he would be “at fault.” He just blamed it on someone else like it’s a personal issue versus a public safety and a legal one. Hey buddy, thanks for making car insurance in LA outrageous.”

I’ve had similar instances recently. Just yesterday, some douche in a Lincoln tried to lane split the right lane going eastbound on Burbank Blvd. approaching Van Nuys. The turn lane doesn’t appear until much farther down the road, but this impatient moron didn’t want to wait for rush hour traffic to move ahead and opted to squeeze his sedan between commuters and cars parked along the curb. He then had the audacity to honk at drivers who were signaling and legally proceeding to change lanes to enter the turn lane when it finally appeared.

Now the driver of the above photo likely knew he was wrong, but sometimes assholes like this will stubbornly defend their behavior against all sense of reason whenever confronted. (Ahem, Donald Trump.) Some primeval instinct takes over, and he probably thought that the submitter was challenging his manhood in some asinine way. But if ignorance really was the cause for much of this behavior, having drivers randomly selected every 6+ years for required driving tests and written exams in order to get their licenses renewed could help curb this problem.

Jackhole in Company Van Leapfrogs by Driving into Opposing Traffic

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Here’s a brilliant idea to think about. If you own a business and advertise it on your vehicle, don’t break the law while driving it! Common sense right? Not so for the stereotypical horrible Angeleno driver…more like college level statistics in terms of comprehension difficulty. This moron in a green company van (couldn’t get a good look at the plates) was driving in afternoon rush hour traffic in Brentwood coming up either Westgate or Granville toward Sunset Blvd. Instead of patiently waiting behind other drivers waiting their turn to merge onto Sunset to go East toward the 405 Fwy, this jackass felt completely entitled to go into opposing traffic, zip past the line of cars in front of him, and block the intersection that clearly states to KEEP CLEAR. The fact that he didn’t signal is just an obvious assumption at this point. You think fu*kheads like this give a damn about signaling if they will risk head-on collisions and commit about 3 moving violations in a span of a few hundred feet just to get stuck once again in rush hour traffic? The ridiculous thing about this is that most drivers taking this route will allow waiting cars at side streets to merge in front of them one at a time…basic zippering through stop and go traffic. Then you have arrogant pricks like this fool who muck everything up, making the roads more unsafe and fellow drivers more peeved. The lettering on the side of the van says “share your emotions”. Here’ s one: you’re an asshole.

Purr-fectly Distracted Toyota Rav4 Driver

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As the late Bill Compton once said, puns were the highest form of humor back in his day. Today they’re corny, but I just couldn’t help myself. A couple weeks ago as we were driving along the 134 Fwy E between Glendale and Pasadena when we noticed a white Toyota Rav4 (license plate 5YPD) driving in the #2 lane at a good 20 mph slower than surrounding traffic. So we figured here’s another oblivious LA driver who’s probably checking her social media on her phone and is oblivious to cars passing her from both sides. Instead, we encountered this lady clutching her cat like Mr. Bigglesworth. If that’s not considered distracted driving, then I’m a Chinese dude with chest hair. Seriously, why are people in this town still doing stupid sh*t like this on the road–and on the freeway, no less? Bond with your animal on the couch in your home. Not in the driver’s seat of your vehicle. Oh, and wanna know what kind of damages she could be looking at if her cat somehow suddenly swats at a bug flying the in car, scratching her face, causing her to careen into multiple vehicles at high speed? How about $1 million dollars…..muwahahaha! Why not full marks for idiocy? Well, a certain girly-man governor vetoed a bill in 2008 that would have made it illegal to drive in California with a pet on your lap. How he possibly could have thought that was infringement on individual rights is beyond me.