Do you know why I pulled you over?
If you have attended one of our defensive driving school courses you would probably know the answer. Many states still have a number of antiquated state driving laws that are simply crazy.
Got a housecoat? If you’re a woman, it’s illegal to wear one while driving in California…. ;
In Glendale, Arizona – cars are not permitted to be driven in reverse, so make sure you get it right the first time;?? The fine for hitting a pedestrian in Sarasota, Florida is only $78. Hmmm … cheapest hit on the planet… Lucky for Tiger Woods he was caught in Orlando.
Sag Harbor, New York it is illegal to disrobe while in your vehicle- well for some people it should be illegal in every state……
But what about modern rules that not many drivers are familiar with and can still result in a hefty fine or land you in one of our traffic schools?
We’ve collated some of the more irregular and disputed road laws from around the nation and have included, at the end, some of the more bizarre contributions from our defensive driving courses-
Driving too slowly
In some states a dawdling motorist can be cited for driving too slowly. Police Officer Pete Kim of the California Highway Patrol says that while it’s not common, you could get a ticket if, “you’re blocking traffic or creating a road hazard on the freeway.” He mentions a couple reasons why someone would drive that slowly. The car could be suffering engine trouble or the driver could be impaired, for example. Both will likely attract the attention of a police officer.
Drivers on city or rural roads are not exempt, says Police Officer Kim. He adds, “Just about anywhere, if you’re in the middle of an intersection or on a regular two-lane street and the speed limit is 45 [mph] and you’re doing 10 [mph] for no good reason, you can be cited for impeding traffic.”
Slow driving laws are enforced in most states, including Florida, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii, where tourists can be most at risk from the police scanner. You should also beware of rubbernecking accidents or police lights, which, while non-ticketable in most cases, doesn’t particularly help traffic cops do their jobs.
Garland, Texas motorist was ticketed by cameras for running a red light. He told local station CBS11 that he crossed the stop line as the light was turning red, but that at his hearing the police officer gave him a different characterization of the stop line. The police officer says the stop line is a lateral line parallel to the curb of the cross street or, “ten feet farther out than where it actually starts.” Texas (and many other states) law states that the violation line is at the stop line before the crosswalk.
Typically the limit line is the first line you come to if there’s a crosswalk — which are sometimes surprisingly wide — so the crosswalk can end up being 10 to 15 feet from the curbs of the crossing street. Somebody looked at the pictures and realized that cities were using an imaginary line, sometimes that of the curb, that you have to get part of your car over to not get a ticket, an extra 12-foot zone.”
Animals and Cars
Now it’s illegal in many states to leave an animal alone in a car, and with good reason. The Animal Law Coalition points out that, even with the vehicle’s windows left slightly open, an outside temperature of 85 degrees can cause a temperature of 102 degrees inside a vehicle within 10 minutes, and 120 degrees within half of an hour. As dogs breathe differently from humans, their central nervous systems can be overwhelmed in less than 15 minutes from excessive heat.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Bill SB1806, which bans owners from leaving animals unattended in a motor vehicle “under conditions that endanger the health or well being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.” First-time violators are fined $100, with a second offense garnering a possible six-month jail term.
Smoking in your Car
Smoking with children of car-seat age in the car will draw you heat in Texas, Vermont, Washington, Arkansas and Louisiana among others. As of yet, there is no law about smoking with pets in the car.
Several states face the thorny issue of their carpool lanes moving too slowly. Some carpoolers have accused single-occupant hybrid drivers of soft-pedaling to save gas. But from California to the D.C. Beltway, it seems the sheer volume of cars using the carpool lanes has slowed the lanes enough to almost destroy the incentive of car-pooling or owning a hybrid car.
California is considering allowing motorists to exit and enter the carpool lane at will, when previously crossing the double yellow was an offense. The state transportation agency has warned against increasing the occupancy of carpool cars from two to three in Los Angeles, like it is in San Francisco.
Beware that buying an easily recognizable hybrid such as a Prius now does not mean automatic rights to use the carpool lane, at least in the Golden State. This is something police officers are well aware of given the recent shortage of available hybrid permits. The black market for scarce carpool lane exemptions has put up to a $5,000 premium on sales of used Prius that carry the exemption sticker.
An assortment of seemingly crazy state driving laws exists and can be found easily across the Internet. Most of these examples are sourced from newspapers and come from the site, whose editors did not respond to a call for comment. Here goes:
In California, no vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.
In Florida, if an elephant, goat or alligator is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.
In Montana, it is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone – you draw your own conclusions.
In Oregon, a door on a car may not be left open longer than necessary.
In Tennessee, it is illegal shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile.
Even we didn’t know that Tennessee is a big whaling state – someone should alert GreenPeace!
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