Dear Street Smarts,
Q: Well Ramona, it looks like a losing battle . My rant and your column didn’t seem to change much. Remember ‘headlights and rain?’ Sounds like a country western song but people still aren’t turning them on. I have had numerous close calls the last few weeks. We can’t see vehicles without their headlights on. Do the police and highway patrol even ticket these people? I haven’t seen one instance since the law was passed. It’s going on two years now. And most are still the dark colored cars. Woe is me. Get on the coppers.
Arn Ghigliazza, Santa Cruz
A: Yes, the law went into effect in 2008 that requires drivers to turn on their headlights when they drive in bad weather, such as in rain and fog, and when its dark, of course. And yes, many still don’t understand that other drivers may have a difficult time seeing them.
Some of them are getting ticketed for it. According to the California Highway Patrol, 48 citations were written to motorists statewide for not having their headlights on in 2009; 49 were cited throughout the state in 2010.
While this bad habit is a problem the CHP does enforce, officials locally and at the state level tell me that citing people during bad weather is dangerous.
“We try not to place motorists in danger when we make a traffic stop, and stopping on wet roadways is inherently dangerous as other vehicles are more likely to collide,” said Officer Sarah Jackson, spokeswoman for the Aptos CHP office. “Another issue to consider is the inundation of emergency calls we receive during inclement weather. During stormy conditions, it is not unusual for us to have anywhere from 15-to-30 pending calls. This is something we are cognizant of, however. Visibility is a crucial issue, especially during inclement weather.”