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Yep, drivers of public buses have more leeway in carpool lanes than cops

Q. Honk: You recently wrote about a sheriff’s deputy in Los Angeles County using the carpool lane without a passenger and that officers often shouldn’t do it. Today, there was a double-length Orange County Transportation Authority bus that was out of service with no passengers using the carpool lane on the southbound 55 Freeway near the I-5. I called the OCTA and was told that it was OK. So police vehicles can’t/shouldn’t use the carpool lane in non-emergency situations, but out-of-service OCTA buses can?

– Jim Fuchs, Costa Mesa

A. Well … pretty much.

Like Honk mentioned a couple of weeks ago, police officers going solo in squad cars aren’t supposed to be in carpool lanes unless they are hustling to help someone, pursuing a bad guy, or using the lane to actively find traffic offenders.

And, yes, the county’s public-bus system can put its coaches in carpool lanes even if only the driver is in one of those big babies.

This is such a great question, Jim, that Honk answered it a half-dozen years ago. He went back to Joel Zlotnik, the spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority, who said the exemption in the law has not changed.

The reasoning is that the public doesn’t want its buses, and the on-the-clock drivers, stuck in traffic or late to bus stops. The driver may be headed to a route’s starting point, or going back to the bus yard.

Q. Hi Mr. Honk: I have a disabled-person placard. My husband bought a new truck. Do I need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to register his truck on the placard? When we are using the truck instead of my car, I’m always fearful we will be ticketed or towed when parking in a disabled space using my placard. Thank you!

– Joyce Combes, Rancho Santa Margarita

A. Good news:

You don’t have to deal with the DMV on this one.

“There is no need to contact the DMV,” Artemio Armenta, a spokesman for the agency told Honk in an email. “The Disabled Person Parking Placard is issued to the individual, (so) the placard can be placed in a vehicle, as long as the person to whom the placard is assigned to is in the vehicle. …

“Once you have a Disabled Person Parking Placard, you must be able to show law enforcement that you are the actual recipient of the placard,” he said. “The placard has a number that corresponds to a number on a card, which you’re advised to keep with you. You can carry your placard in your husband’s truck.”

Armenta said you can use that placard in any vehicle, such as a rental, a borrowed car or while a friend or relative is giving you a lift.

Honkin’ spotted: On the wall of Baja Sonora, a Mexican-food joint in Los Alamitos, is a framed photo of a Register newspaper clipping from decades ago. It shows Kate Rea, 85, and Ella Wallop, 80, flanking the Los Alamitos mayor in a ceremony and points out that Katella Street (and now Avenue) was named after the sisters.

According the Register’s archives, in 1896, their father, John Rea, needed a name for his walnut ranch and combined his daughter’s names to create it. The street, a high school and the Katella Grill and Katella Bakery restaurants were beneficiaries.

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

Source: Orange County Register

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