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The law on securing a car or truck’s load comes down to judgment

Q. Hey Honkster: I have a big gripe! Nothing makes me more mad than to get behind one of those large trucks hauling sand or gravel that spew their contents out of the back and inevitably ding my paint job or even crack my windshield. This should be a crime with a huge fine and not tolerated on our roadways.Trucks should have their loads completely covered tightly so this doesn’t happen to us poor drivers. When I see one of these trucks on the road ahead of me now, I slow way down and or move way over to the far lane to avoid these terrible trucks!

– Dinged in San Clemente (AKA Mike Smith)

A. Dear Dinged: There are a couple of laws that any driver can get cited for in regard to precariously carrying stuff whether behind the wheel of a car or a truck.

Let’s say, for example, boxes or mattresses are stacked too high. Then the motorist can get cited for “unsafe load,” said Duane Graham, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol out of the Westminster station house. Such a citation is based on a judgment call.

A tarp might be smart but isn’t required. If anything falls off of the vehicle, excluding clear liquid or feathers, that can earn a citation, too.

Further, some commercial trucks have special laws on securing certain types of loads.

Now, the worst-case senario is something tumbling off, perhaps a dresser or a pallet of food or drink, and someone else gets injured or killed. That could earn the driver a misdemeanor or a felony charge.

“You are required to ensure the load is secure,” Graham said. “We don’t want somebody to get hurt.”

Q. Hey Honkster: Having recently acquired my M1 endorsement on my driver’s license, I have slowly ventured onto the freeways on a motorcycle. After seeing what it was like, I started eyeballing the carpool lanes. Feeling comfortable, I ran the carpool lane. What’s the law or laws with motorcycles in carpool lanes? Can we cross the solids? What’s to know?– Bill Lodge, Redondo Beach

A. Years ago, CHP Officer Tino Olivera pulled over a motorcyclist who was arrested for being drunk. But that wasn’t why the biker got pulled over in the first place. The rider was doing a no-no – lane-splitting by going back and forth over a carpool-lane’s double-white or -yellow solid lines.

Lane-splitting – lane-sharing is a better term – is legal for a motorcylist if done safely.

But it is illegal for any biker or motorist to cross the double-yellows or -whites at all, except when for safety reasons – such as avoid a collision, said Olivera, a spokesman for the CHP’s Santa Ana station house. It is also legal to do so, of course, if directed by an officer.

It is fine for any motorist to cross a single solid line, although it is good to remember that Caltrans may have put it there to discourage drivers from crossing into another lane at that point.

Honkin’ Fact: He likes to travel, but the pandemic is grounding him. So Steve Simao, who lives in the Seattle, Wash., area, went on eBay and bought a pair of disgarded Delta MD-90 jetliner seats for $600. First-class ones, of course, that came with an in-flight safety card and a tray table that pulls out and he eats from. His wife and a daughter found the whole thing amusing, with the daughter’s videos going viral on social media. (Source: The Washington Post)

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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