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Highway without signs still has speed limit

Q. On Los Patrones Parkway in Rancho Mission Viejo, there are no speed-limit signs posted. How am I supposed to know what the speed limit is?

– L. Mize, Rancho Santa Margarita

A. No idea.

Honk began unraveling this mystery by reaching out to Rafael Reynoso, a California Highway Patrol officer and spokesman out of the San Juan Capistrano office, which patrols that stretch.

He told Honk that on a divided highway without posted speed-limit signs – such as Los Patrones – the fastest you can legally go is 65 mph.

That doesn’t go for cars and trucks towing trailers, of course – the speed limit for them is 55 or less on every California highway, Reynoso said.

On two-lane, undivided highways without posted signs, the speed limit is 55 mph.

The first segment of Los Patrones opened in 2018. It’s the county’s road, so Honk asked Shannon Widor, a spokesman for Orange County’s public works department, about that stretch.

“It’s ironic that you (or a reader) bring up this point,”  he told Honk in an email. “Our traffic engineering team spoke with the CHP earlier this month and how that law may not be apparent to the public.

“So, earlier this month, our traffic engineering team actually initiated a traffic study/speed survey,” he said. “Our team is still in the process of analyzing the data and will determine the appropriate speed-limit signs to post once we complete our study.”

So, L., keep an eye out for the signs – they should be arriving in six-to-eight weeks or even sooner, Widor said, with the speed limit likely staying at 65 mph.

Q. I have noticed several times where motorists have scratched off the white paint on their license plates creating a silver color. Some just do it around the numbers but some have scratched off “California” as well. I would think that would be illegal. If they are driving in another state, nobody would know what state they are from. Why are these people scraping off the white paint?

–  Ron Karam, Fullerton

A. Rare day – Honk has no idea on this one, either.

But he always knows where to go to get the goods.

It is illegal, and you can’t get a fix-it ticket for it – just a straight up violation, which costs $250 before court costs and other penalties, and the tab for getting new plates.

“I just stopped one today – he scratched off ‘California,’” said Tino Olivera, a California Highway Patrol officer and spokesman out of the Santa Ana station house. “That’s an expensive ticket. I think it costs close to $1,000.”

Olivera didn’t ask the motorist why, and he says he doesn’t see such violations often.

But he does see a fair number of license plates that have been spray-painted yellow and black; apparently the drivers didn’t want to pay extra for the Department of Motor Vehicles’ nifty retro version of the 1960s plate.

“If you start looking out there,” he said, “you will see a lot.”

Trained officers can easily tell the difference – the style of lettering is different than on the standard plate.

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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