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Articles Posted in Miscellaneous News

California Law Against Hanging Things from Rear View Mirror

Hanging an air freshener, fuzzy dice or other objects  from your rearview mirror could be a violation of the law in your state. Specifically, in California the law prohibits placing an object that “obstructs or reduces the driver’s clear view through the windshield or side windows.”  Therefore, be certain anything you hang from your car’s rearview mirror does NOT obstruct or reduce your clear view.

California Law on Engine Modifications

California car enthusiasts love to modify their cars, from exhaust systems to window tinting to neon underglow lighting.  Before you make any modifications to your car be sure to check whether California prohibits your desired modification.  The following will briefly review several of the more popular vehicle modifications:

Illegal: Loud Exhaust Systems

If you want people to hear your car before they see it, make sure it’s not illegal to have a loud exhaust.   Many car enthusiasts want to modify their car’s exhaust system, but there are laws governing the noise limit your vehicle can produce. California changed its exhaust law in 2019 so that having a loud muffler is no longer just a fix-it ticket but rather a ticketed fine. In short, vehicles must have a muffler that prevents “excessive noise from the exhaust system.”

Recently Southern California has been hit by a series of back to back earthquakes and several aftershocks. According to the Los Angeles Times, the first quake with a magnitude of 6.4, occurred on July 4th—the second quake occurred the next day, and this time it was a 7.1 magnitude quake.

The epicenter of both quakes was located near Ridgecrest, CA, a Mojave Desert town around 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The shaking from the quakes was “felt as far away as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Baja California and Reno.” Since the quakes occurred there have been hundreds of aftershocks.

Thankfully, no one was killed in these earthquakes, though many people in Ridgecrest suffered minor injuries. There was, however, significant structural damages to homes, stores, and infrastructure—”The earthquake sparked several gas leaks and four fires, destroying several mobile homes.” Many homes were weakened in the initial quakes and officials are concerned that aftershocks could cause further damage or collapse.

A study done by YourMechanic, a startup in Mountain View, California, recently revealed an interesting fact about California drivers—according to the study, California drivers rank first place for the “Most Aggressive Drivers” in the country.

The startup specializes in serving car owners with car problems. Their study also analyzed other categories including “Which is the Most Dangerous State to Drive in?” and “Average Driver Speed.” Surprisingly, New Mexico took first place for “Most Dangerous State to Drive in” and Wyoming took first place for “Average Driver Speed.”

In determining the state with the most aggressive drivers, the study looked at the rate of aggressive driving events per minute of travel. These events included things like speeding, hard braking, and accelerating. California has the most frequent rate “with an average of 6.6 minutes per journey” involving these aggressive driving events. On YourMechanic’s rubric, in terms of aggressive driving, California earned a 10—a perfect score.

2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of the enactment of hands-free cell phone and no-texting laws in California. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) this milestone showed a decrease in the number of citations issued for distracted driving and a decrease in the number of collisions caused by distracted driving. However, even with this decrease, the problem of cell-phone use and texting while driving still persists.

Texting While Driving is Distracted Driving

Texting while driving falls under the umbrella of “Distracted Driving.” There are many ways a driver can be distracted while driving—anything from eating or looking down to change the music station to looking at a passenger can dangerously take a driver’s attention from the road. However, cell phones continue to be a top cause of distracted driving accidents.

Over the past few weeks the Southern California mountains have been hit by several winter storms. According to CBS 8, “The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory above 5,000 feet for the San Diego mountains.” While this is good news for ski resorts, the advisory states that drivers should expect slick road conditions.

From Mount Laguna to the San Bernardino and Riverside County mountains, the latest storms have brought 4-12 inches of snow. With all this snow, the National Weather Service is concerned about the impact it could have on Interstate 5. While traveling to the snow can be fun for recreational activities, it can be particularly dangerous for drivers, especially if you are unprepared. Because snow isn’t a typical part of Southern California life, if you plan to travel to or through snowy areas, make sure to use caution to avoid a Southern California car accident.

Although driving in snow can be dangerous, there are certain tips you can follow to stay safer even in icy and snowy conditions. To avoid a snow-related car collision be sure to:

California is currently in a state of emergency because of fires burning throughout the state. On the morning of August 8, 2018, a 51-year-old man, Forrest Gordon Clark, was arrested at his home in connection with the large forest fire in the Cleveland National forest, that has burned over 18,000 acres. According to ABC 7 News, the Orange County fire authority became suspicious of Clark when they discovered the origin of the fire was near the cabin he owns. So far, no one has been injured but many cabins and homes have burned, and firefighters fear more structures could be in harm’s way.

Currently, investigators believe the fire was an intentional act. They have been gathering evidence to support this claim. For example, the fire originated near Clark’s cabin, and of the 14 cabins in the area, Clark’s is the only one still standing. Clark also sent an email to the volunteer fire chief last week warning, “This place will burn” after a dispute with his neighbors.

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A fire that began in a Victorville neighborhood and raged through the hills, was started by illegal fireworks. ABC 7 News reported that after the fire began an explosion and a wind gust spread the fire quickly.  The fire caused damage to several homes and yards, though luckily, due to the quick response of firefighters, no homes were completely lost. One resident stated, “I pulled [my] curtain open, I looked through the blinds, and all I saw was a huge fire right above our house, it looked like it was going to fall into our back yard.” Fortunately for those who set off the illegal fireworks, there were no personal injuries caused by the fire.

Southern California fire marshals have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to illegal fireworks because of how dangerous they can be in the dry, fire-prone, Southern California environment. With the 4th of July just around the corner, residents in this Victorville neighborhood are urging people to remember that when “You shoot off a firework, and it only takes one spark for it to light a whole street on fire, if it wasn’t for the fire department being right up that street, who knows what would have happened?”

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According to the Daily Breeze, many mobile traffic map apps are causing problems on small Los Angeles residential streets. The apps such as Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps attempt to help drivers take the fastest route to their destination and avoid detected traffic. The problem is that some of the traffic is diverted to small side streets or residential streets that are not designed for heavy traffic, and too much traffic on these small streets can lead to dangerous conditions.

A new motion before the Los Angeles city council proposes that the city get involved with these app makers to attempt to reduce the problems these apps cause. As one councilman put it, “Mobile app makers are sacrificing the quality of life in our neighborhoods, just so drivers can save a few seconds or minutes with an alternate route, we have an obligation to see what can be done to protect our neighborhoods and prevent these apps from continuing to divert drivers from major avenues onto small residential streets that aren’t designed to accommodate high-volume traffic.”  Continue Reading

According to ABC 7 News, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook Southern California Thursday afternoon. The earthquake struck of the coast, near the Channel Islands, approximately “39 miles southwest of Oxnard.” People in areas such as downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, West Los Angeles, Calabasas and Santa Monica all reported feeling the shaking of the quake.

Immediately following the quake the Los Angeles Fire Department surveyed and examined the Los Angeles area, checking buildings, transportation, and power. Luckily, no earthquake damage or injuries have been reported so far on the mainland, though the Channel Islands suffered some structural damage.

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