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The dog on your lap is legal, but distracted driving is not

Q. Is it legal to drive with a dog in your lap? It frequently looks like the dog is driving!

– Morris Schneider, South Pasadena

A. “There is no specific law that address that,” said Vince Ramirez, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol based in the Altadena station house, which patrols your area, Morris.

But …

Ramirez pointed out that the same state law that can be used to cite drivers too caught up with their makeup, shaving or hamburger – distracted driving – can be used to cite someone whose dog or other animal is grabbing too much attention from the motorist.

(He has pulled over a man reading a map book, held with his hands while his knees were doing the driving. And he cited a woman who had her cellphone affixed to the steering wheel with rubber bands and was texting – he chose to cite her for violating the cell phone law.)

The good officer recommends that dogs be confined in car and truck seats with special restraints purchased at a pet store that work with the seatbelts.

There is a California law that requires dogs in the back of a pickup to be either in a restraint or a cage, to protect them.

This is a family column, yes, but sometimes Honk has to lay out the nasty truth to shine a light on the subject:

Ramirez recalled a collision, years ago, when the motorist for some reason crashed into a wall at the end of an off-ramp. He wasn’t sure where the pet was in the vehicle as the tragedy began to unfold.

“She was OK, but her animal died,” he said.

The small dog had slammed up against the windshield.

Q. I was hoping you could find out how long until the work on the 23 Freeway going through Thousand Oaks and Moorpark is done. Not sure if they are adding additional lanes or reinforcements, but it is a big mess.

– Pamela Chase, Thousand Oaks

 A. If all goes well, the $91 million project, which kicked off last summer, will be largely completed in the summer or fall of 2022.

Good news, Pamela – that is a about a year earlier than originally planned.

Much of the affected 8.2-mile stretch will get new pavement, with on- and off-ramps and shoulders getting face-lifts as well.

“There is no lane addition, but many improvements to extend the life and smoothness of the pavement,” said Jim Medina, a Caltrans spokesman for the area.

The 23 will largely stay open during the rehab from U.S. 101 to State Route 118.

Pamela commented it can be difficult to know when entrances and exits are closed; Medina said Caltrans alerts the public with updates via Twitter and Facebook and invited her and anyone else to email him with any concerns at James.Medina@dot.ca.gov (Search social media with “District 7,” which covers Los Angeles and Ventura counties).

Honkin’ fact: There were 27.3 million licensed California drivers as of Jan. 1, 2020. They drove 36.4 million registered vehicles – of those, 1.3 million were hybrids and 330,000 others ran solely on electricity. (Source: Department of Motor Vehicles).

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


Source: Orange County Register

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