Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on Claycord.com.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This Claycord.com column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every Monday at 2pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions.
COMMUTER: Hello Jammer. I really enjoy your column. I’ve learned a lot.
My question: Is it legal for someone to stop in or before the crosswalk to let their children out of the car? Sometimes taking so long that people need to go around.
I see this quite a lot at a nearby elementary school. It probably happens at all schools.
Is this illegal or just stupid?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Very glad you shared this question and brought the problem to light, CC!
It is illegal to “stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle” in a crosswalk, says California Vehicle Code section 22500(b). There are a few exceptions: If you’re avoiding conflict with other traffic; if a police officer or traffic device told you to; if you’re a bus or taxi unloading passengers.
The Jammer showed our resident expert the Claycordian police officer her answer and he added:
Is parking on the crosswalk illegal or stupid? As the parent of Claycordian students, I would enthusiastically say both! You are bang on with your answer. I would add that most crosswalks near schools also include section (c) Between a safety zone and the adjacent right-hand curb or within the area between the zone and the curb as may be indicated by a sign or red paint on the curb, which sign or paint was erected or placed by local authorities pursuant to an ordinance. Which is to say that most school crosswalks have red curbs adjacent to them.
This is certainly a pet peeve. The parent is typically choosing convenience over safety. It is also painfully difficult for us to enforce. The drop-off/ pick-up times are so short (a fast ticket-writer might get three done during the crush of drop-off/ pick-up). Of course, when we are visible, parents tend to mind the rules better.
Trivia: the difference between “no parking” and “no stopping” … parking means you’ve left your vehicle; stopping means you’re still in it. Sometimes, you can’t park but you can stop; and sometimes you can’t even stop.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Claycordian Shane Hargrave send along these beautiful photos and video of the new Devil’s Slide Tunnel:
COMMUTER: I got a ticket for driving while talking on my cell phone. Now I’m scared my insurance will go way up and I’ll have to pay a huge honking fine.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer consulted with a personage no less than Tully Lehman, who has been an insurance industry spokesman with the Insurance Information Network of California for 10 years. Here’s what he said:
“The ticket for talking on a cell phone does not add a point to your record and therefore can’t be ‘seen’ by your insurer. As a result, insurance rates will not go up for such infractions,” Lehman said.
More information from the Department of Motor Vehicles question and answer page on the cell phone law:
Q: Will I receive a point on my driver license if I’m convicted for a violation of the wireless telephone or wireless communication device law?
A: No. The violation is a reportable offense; however, a violation point will not be assigned to your DMV record.
Q: Will the conviction appear on my driving record?
A: Yes, but the violation point will not be added.
Here’s Lehman’s answer regarding the amount you will have to pay:
“The fine for the offense is $20 for a first offense and $50 for a second offense. However, according to the Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule, a first offense increases to $76 and a second offense to $190 due to the addition of penalty assessments.”
OMGOMGOMG, it’s also possible that you might end up paying a different amount than $76. There are a number of factors at play. The best way to determine the amount is to call the court. Look on the ticket and call the number provided.
The Jammer knows you probably feel a bit crestfallen and rueful, and doubtless have decided to avoid talking while driving in future. Here’s a couple links to some related sites:
COMMUTER: I learned to drive in a Plymouth 4 door sedan with a pushbutton automatic. A couple of years later, I bought my first car, a used 850 Mini. 1,230 pounds, 10 feet long, 848 cc, 37.5 BHP, 4 speed manual, 10″ (diameter!) alloy wheels, Pirelli’s, competition shocks. Zoom Zoom!
COMMUTER: My first was a `64 MG Midget. It was so small, that instead of getting in, I had to put it on. It was too small to carry my seabag, so I traded it in for a `70 Barracuda. That was one sweet ride, especially after I put on the headers and glasspacks.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: As you can see, ClayDen and Cowellian were reminiscing about their first cars in the Nov. 4 column. Let’s hear from the rest of you. Tell us about your first car – and why don’t you email a photo of your first car as well? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ClayDen and Cowellian, you be sure to send a photo, if you have one.
The Jammer’s first car was a blue Buick LeSabre station wagon with an Iona steel body. If the car had been available during World War I, we would have wrapped that sucker up a lot faster. It was a freaking tank. C’mon, everybody, let’s hear about yours!
Email your questions to email@example.com.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: That’s it for this week – see you next Monday. Be sure to cruise by Claycord.com at 2pm for more traffic intelligence. Remember, whether you drive, walk, bike or hop Amtrak, BART or AC Transit, Traffic Jammer Janis Mara is here to answer your questions.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org