Wednesday, April 22, 2009

But They Sell it at Auto Zone...

If I had a dime for every time I've heard that phrase, I wouldn't need to work. I still would, of course, but I wouldn't NEED to.

I regularly stop people for equipment violations such as license plate covers, those stupid light up windshield washers, red or blue LEDs in the turn signals, tinted front windows, etc.

Every one of those drivers has said something to the effect of "I bought them at Auto Zone. Why did they sell them to me if I can't have them on my car?"

Interestingly, if these folks would have taken the time to READ THE PACKAGE instead of ripping it off the product and throwing it away, they would see that all of these things carry a warning. Yes, it is generally written in microscopic printing, on some out of the way corner of the packaging, but it is there nonetheless.

These warnings are usually to the effect of "Not for on highway use. May not be legal in all areas. Check you local laws before using."

Had these individuals followed such advice, they would have known that 26708(a) VC prohibits window tint forward of the driver seat, 5201(f) VC prohibits any covering over the numbers of a license plate, and 25950(a) requires any light visible to the front of any motor vehicle to be white or amber in color.

And for thise who are about to go off on me for assuming everyone should know the entire Californai Vehicle Code, I don't expect everyone to know the entire code. But it's available online, and you can look up the pertinent sections before you put some illegal piece of equipment on your vehicle.

Selling window tint and other vehicle accessories is perfectly legal. Driving the vehicle upon a public highway with such accoutrement attached, however, is not.

Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware (and read the damned warning labels)...


Sandra G. said...

I totally agree.

One fellow I work with gives drivers the option - get the ticket and the fine, or peel the window tint off right now.

Most opt for peeling it off.

Sue said...

Please correct me if i'm wrong, I'm the first to admit my ignorance, but I thought it was legal to 'lightly' tint your driver and passenger side windows. In fact I was getting ready to get them tinted 'a little bit', but if it's illegal then I certainly won't! By the way, I'm just a regular old civilian, but I really enjoy your blog! My son (17 yrs old) is considering law enforcement as a career and I couldn't be more proud! I'm so glad he has chosen that direction instead of the opposite like his dead beat dad! Thanks for the stories!

Rebecca said...

My Husband used to have one of those fixed up "fast and the furious" kinds of cars. He would add stuff to it and I would tell him "that's not legal" and he would say "they sell it at the store" Ugh.. He read this post this morning. I think he believes me now. And I'm glad to say that the car is no more, he sold it thank God!


Roobik said...

Rebecca is referring to me, I am the husband. I will admit, not all of the stuff on that car was LEGAL, but some of them were. LOL.

Anonymous said...

It would be simple to call your local law enforcement agency and ask if it is legal. Save you lots of fines for improper stuff. But the that is just me. I want to know the facts. And save a ticket and increased insurance rates.

David Woycechowsky said...

26708. (a) (1) A person shall not drive any motor vehicle with any
object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied
upon the windshield or side or rear windows.
NYS state requires NYS registration stickers on the windshield. Do these need to be removed when driving in California?

David Woycechowsky said...

btw, I don't think the required stickers fit in the space allowed by the 26708(b)(3) exception, if you were going to say tht.

Front Porch Society said...

Don't ya just love pulling over the cars with the red and blue colored windshield wiper fluid squirters?!? I LOVE hunting them out! Those and the cars that have the illegal neon lights under the body of the car so the road glows a certain color as they are pimpin' along. This is not the movies, folks....and those are not legal to have on your vehicle while driving down the highway! Silly people, thinking they can be just like the street racers they see in the movies! *shaking my head*

Officer "Smith" said...

Actually David, I believe they do fit the area allowed in California. However, I wouldn't cite a car from another state that has something that is allowed in that state if the vehicle is here temporarily.

How can I make someone from New Mexico or Arizona remove the window tint they so desperately need down there in the summer time?

As for Sue's question...

The short answer is probably not.

The long answer is here.

Scroll down to 26708(d).

Just me... said...

Okay, I will be the first to admit that I don't know any of the laws regarding window tint, colored wipers, undercarriage lights, etc...
But I do know 'tacky'..
So, just figure out what that is and avoid it.. :):):)

Geoff said...

Officer "Smith," here's a perfect example.

Front Porch Society,

When you pull over someone for having blue windshield wiper squirters, why do you do so? Are you really afraid some idiot is going to mistake a ridiculous, sonically-vibrating Bondomobile with a 3-foot spoiler and a kazoo muffler for a police car, get pulled over and raped?

Seriously: who are such people harming? Do you really realize that if you wrote your ridiculous $80+ citation for having government-unapproved decorations on a car, and they refused to pay, that men with guns would ultimately force them to do so? And you're A-OK with that, because "the law's the law." Not that the law actually protects anyone from an actual and real violation of another person's God-given rights, no! Heaven forbid! The law exists for its own sake, like God.

Can you not see why I cannot respect men who do what you do?

makeumdothechicken said...

As far as vehicles from other states are concerned there are certain infractions of the vehicle code that would not apply to them. For example, the State of Illinois requires a license plate on the front and rear of the vehicle. There are some states that do not even issue two plates. Illinois requires the driver of a vehicle be able to provide proof of insurance one of our neighboring states Wisconsin does not, so a vehicle stopped that has Wisconsin registration does not have to provide this proof.

*Goddess* said...

Read the packaging? What kind of archaic idea is that?!

I totally blame the 'directions industry' for this one. They go overboard and bore us so much, we ignore them all together.

I picked up a small snack pack size of brownies the other day and there were FOUR steps in the directions...which I read after I ate them. Apparently I was supposed to heat them first. Heck if I wanted to do that, I would have baked my own.

But seriously, I think these manufacturers should be legally forced to put their 'warning' in big bold print.

Front Porch Society said...

TO Geoff:

I have caught many a driver with suspended license, no insurance, open container of alcohol, high on drugs, drunk, or wanted on a warrant - all because I pulled a vehicle over that had some idiotic neon decorative illegal piece of equipment added to their vehicle.

And as for your flippant comment about men with guns coming to force someone to pay their fine, get a clue!! No one is going to point a gun at anybody forcing them to pay a fine.

It really is quite simple. Pay the fine and go on with your life. Don't pay the fine and you get to spend some time in jail.

Geoff said...

Front Porch Society wrote:

"I have caught many a driver with suspended license, no insurance, open container of alcohol, high on drugs, drunk, or wanted on a warrant - all because I pulled a vehicle over that had some idiotic neon decorative illegal piece of equipment added to their vehicle."

That's your justification? "My pulling over people who have decorations that harm absolutely no one has helped me catch someone who has committed a "crime," whether statutory or real. Of all the arbitrary, nonsense, end-justifies-the-means excuses I've heard... you want a technique that will be sure to increase your kill ratio? Just start pulling over blue cars, comrade. It would be just as arbitrary and just as wrong. Pathetic.

Front Porch Society wrote:

"And as for your flippant comment about men with guns coming to force someone to pay their fine, get a clue!! No one is going to point a gun at anybody forcing them to pay a fine.

It really is quite simple. Pay the fine and go on with your life. Don't pay the fine and you get to spend some time in jail."

There was absolutely nothing flippant about it. You don't pay the fine, men with guns come and use force against you. They either put you in prison by force, or make you pay by force. You'd really be willing to initiate violence over someone having decorations on his car which harm no one, and that is downright pathetic, weak and unmanly.

Front Porch Society said...

To Geoff:

It is obvious you hate police officers. Therefore, you will never understand our job. We have a duty to uphold the law, and if that includes pulling over vehicles with illegal devices attached, then so be it.

But I am done discussing this with you as all you want is a fight - as it typical of most cop haters. And I am above that. So I am done with you.

Vetnurse said...

Geoff l do not mind reasoned argument but your tiresome drivel does not inform me of anything worthwhile other than the fact that you like the sight of your own drivel and l am sure the sound of the same.

I find it interesting to hear of the different laws in different states. In UK it is a blanket thing so easier to follow.

What l wondered is how do the police know that the car they pulled over with something illegal on in their state is allowed the whatever in the drivers state. Officer Smith was saying if it is a temporary visit then he and l am sure others sensibly allow it.

Sandra G. said...

In response to the interesting 'conversation' going on between Geoff and Front Porch Society....

Various accoutrements on vehicles are prohibited for a reason. And depending on what state (or province) you live in, the law varies.

Many of the laws are there because various additions on vehicles either make them unsafe or create a distraction(think of how a really loud muffler and drowns out all sound around it - not good when you cannot hear an emergency vehicle coming) or are prohibited (in BC only police vehicles are permitted to have blue lights mounted).

Mind you, some of the laws, and not just those surrounding vehicles, are out of date and archaic, and I do believe it's up to regular citizens to challenge certain laws.

Here in BC - if you do not pay your tickets you cannot get your drivers licence renewed or your annual vehicle insurance renewed until the fines are paid. It's a great system.

Geoff said...

Vetnurse, you wouldn't catch me yammering away if I wasn't tired of other people imposing their injustices and bad logic upon others by force or threat thereof.

Front Porch Society, I've little doubt you would have "done your job" and arrested Ms. Rosa Parks, because what she did was "against the law." And shame on you for it. I do not hate you. I do, however, hate many of the things you do, and sincerely hope that you question the underpinning reasons for all your actions.

Officer "Smith,"

I do think you are a fairly reasonable man. That's why I posted here. Not merely to anger people, but to challenge the beliefs that other people hold. True, sometimes doing this makes people angry. I know I used to believe "the law is the law, and enforcing it is moral solely because it is the law." Then a few different people challenged my core beliefs rather bluntly. It upset me, of course. I try to be honest, so when I could not defend my beliefs with logic, I changed my beliefs (after, unfortunately, attempting to insult and ridicule the people who challenged my beliefs.)

I will respect your wishes and not post here anymore. I thank you for your time and the amount of respect you did extend.

Mad Jack said...

You know, Geoff, if you are bothered by criminal law and law enforcement officers you have a few alternatives. You could become a lawyer and specialize in criminal law, and in some States you are not required to attend law school to do so. You can serve an apprenticeship and pass the BAR. You could run for office and start removing a few of these unwanted laws.

My personal gripe is the loud music. I hate boom cars, and I do mean hate. I've lived in cities that passed laws against excessive noise and then instructed their officers to enforce the law with an eye towards zero tolerance. What a relief!

And so I give my personal thanks, most sincere congratulations and a tip of my fedora to all officers who have ever stopped and ticketed a boom car for excessive noise.

Likewise, I extend the same to all officers who have ever responded to a noise complaint and successfully made the cretins shut up and behave.

Officer "Smith" said...

Mad Jack,

"Boom cars" are also one of my pet peeves. It really spins me when I can feel the bass from three blocks away, even before I can see the vehicle from which it emanates.

I regularly stop and cite these vehicles, not just because I don't like the obtrusiveness of the noise, but because residents of my city complain to me about the vehicles passing through their neighborhoods and disturbing their peace.

27007 VC is my friend.