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Can a truck have 20-inch-wide mirrors on the sides?

Q. How much can a mirror extend out from the body of a pickup truck? Over the weekend I parked next to a pickup. When my wife tried to open her door, it hit the truck’s mirror. I measured from the window frame to the end of the mirror and it was 20 inches. Is this legal?

– Scott Irwin, Fullerton

A. At first rub, seems a bit obnoxious, yes?

But maybe the owner just wants to ensure everything can be seen in any blind spot – which Honk would applaud.

As to the law. …

State law says most vehicles must be no wider than 102 inches. Then, if needed, the owner can have an extra 10 inches on each side for a mirror. That pushes out the total width to 112 inches or 122 inches, depending on if there is one or two side mirrors.

That might cover the truck, but Honk firmly believes owners of those behemoths should politely park them out of the way of others.

There are a bunch of exceptions to the width rule, by the way, that Honk finds interesting.

For example, a passenger vehicle can carry stuff to the sides. But the load can’t extend beyond the fenders on the left side, or more than six inches past the fenders on the right side.

Which is probably the law Honk’s father got pulled over for decades ago, prompting him to come home with a big grin and a good story.

A high school tailback back in the day, he figured it would be easier to just hold a seven-foot-tall Christmas tree out the window rather than having to string it to the car’s roof.

The officer, who didn’t cite him, said, “Sir, that is the second-stupidest thing I’ve seen today.”

“What was the first, officer?”

“Well, I pulled over a guy taking home a ladder with each end sticking out of the windows and his head between two of the rungs.”

Q. Must the dashboard’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, be visible when the car is driven or parked on public roads?

– Dave Dobrin, Fountain Valley

A. No.

But …

Federal law says when vehicles are manufactured, they must have a VIN that can be seen from outside the vehicle.

California law then steps in and says that unique number to the car, truck or motorcycle cannot be altered or removed.

If a copy of Honk is resting on the dash atop the VIN – totally legal. Same with fuzzy dice if you want to take them down from the rearview mirror while motoring about and set them up there for a bit. Or anything else that is reasonable can block the view of the VIN.

However, if a driver gets pulled over for, say, having a cell phone to an ear, then the officer can ask that the dashboard be cleared to see the VIN, or the motorist must step aside so the officer can remove anything blocking a view of the number, said Ian Hoey, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

Cops check the VIN to make sure the vehicle is the same one represented by the license plates, which, of course, can easily be replaced in less than five minutes with stolen ones.

VINs, by the way, can also be found elsewhere on vehicles.

Honkin’ fact: There were 336 million passengers on domestic fights last year as compared to 812 million the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a 59% drop. Travel to and from other countries dropped from 242 million to 63 million passengers, a 74% drop.

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

Source: Orange County Register

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