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.
Email your questions to email@example.com.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Behold, beloved Claycordians – at the end of this column, the results of last week’s quiz! As ever, you readers are so dang smart, choosing the winners was really tough. Basically, every answer was essentially correct, so, each and every one of you: Pat yourself on the back. Our resident Claycord officer, Leo, picked out the crème de la crème. But more on that later.
COMMUTER: Since I purchased a 2010 Toyota Corolla I have noticed it now kinda shakes when idling, which it didn’t do when I bought it two years ago. What does this mean?
–Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer turned to Brian Hagopian, a member of the Las Positas College automotive faculty, for the answer. Here’s his response:
Yikes! Well, I always tell my students “That could be 1,000 different things!” and that really means it could be 2,000 different things! I would start off with the basics. Check motor mounts, vacuum leaks, tuneup, fuel quality, plugged fuel injectors, fuel pressure, air filter, and engine sensors.
If the basics fare well, then it is on to other things. I would do a compression check, then a leakdown test. Compression check determines whether all the cylinders of the engine are doing their job to the best of their ability and within a percentage of each other.
If three of the four cylinders have good compression and one is low it could cause a vibration. The leakdown will tell you where the loss of compression is going. Always do the basics first.
COMMUTER: How is the toll collection done on the new pay HOV lanes, for example, on Interstate 680 southbound between Pleasanton and San Jose?
It is my understanding if you have your FasTrak displayed you will be charged for using the HOV even if you have the required number of passengers in your car. Thus you need to store your FasTrak in the Mylar bag to avoid charges.
FasTrak will take a picture of all cars driving in the carpool lane and will check the pictures of the one without signal from a FasTrak device for the number of passengers, and will only charge your account (if you have our license plate linked to your account) if you don’t have the minimum number of passengers.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: You’re right about storing the FasTrak in its Mylar bag, JWB, but no, FasTrak does not take pictures of vehicles to determine whether the number of passengers conforms to carpool requirements. (Reader Archie noted this too.) Like the toll plaza at the Benicia Bridge and other bridges, the toll lanes are monitored for compliance by the California Highway Patrol.
COMMUTER: (Responding to a lament from Tinfoiler about the Golden Gate Bridge having a separate board of directors from other Bay Area bridges) But, Tinfoiler, there needs to be a separate board of directors to scoop up all that bridge toll money on their salaries! We can’t have such an iconic bridge lumped with all the other bridges, no, that would be terrible.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer agrees with Tinfoiler and jtkatec, at least if I understand them correctly, that it is redundant to have a separate board of directors for the Golden Gate Bridge.
Just as a datapoint: The reason for having a separate district was valid at first, when the idea was under consideration in the late 1920s. The idea was so every county affected by the bridge would have a voice about its financing, design and construction — San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Del Norte, and parts of Napa and Mendocino. Now, however, in the year 2014, the Jammer agrees that things are different.
COMMUTER: TJ, that comment from “Mother of a good driver,” whose son was unfairly issued a ticket for texting when he hadn’t touched his phone, reminded me of something. I’ve always wanted to know if California’s laws prohibiting talking on hand-held cell phones apply to CBs?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Glad you brought that up, Curious, as it’s an oft-neglected element of Vehicle Code section 23123, the section that forbids operating a hand-held cell phone while driving. The prohibition does not apply to anyone driving a motor truck or truck tractor or truck tractor and using a digital two-way radio with a wireless telephone that doesn’t have to be held to the user’s ear.
COMMUTER: (Responding to a post by CHP Officer Daniel Hill) The state’s portion of (traffic) fines collected does not go directly into the CHP budget, but it does go to the state’s general fund, which in turn funds the CHP. Check your facts, Jack!
–Brother Law Enforcement Officer
TRAFFIC JAMMER: As readers Dear Poster 41 and Archie pointed out, this statement is incorrect.
The CHP’s main source of funding is the State Transportation Fund’s Motor Vehicle Account, which is funded primarily by driver’s license and vehicle registration fees. Here is the page on the CHP website detailing the sources of funding: http://www.chp.ca.gov/pdf/per98-34.pdf.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: And now, time for the results of the quiz! As the Jammer mentioned earlier, basically everyone who responded was right; just reading the responses was wonderfully educational. Congratulations to you all, and especially to the four winners! Here’s Officer Leo’s verdict:
THE WINNERS: Mir24, D, Rose Garden, Horse n Around
These are the comments that, in my opinion, are the most correct.
Although technically correct, the several answers covering gridlock reflect the on-going frustration with congestion and traffic.
Vehicle Code section 22526 covers gridlock. It’s a parking ticket. The spirit of the law is to relieve traffic congestion. The spirit of the question is when could you get a moving violation and/ or is it illegal for proceeding on a green light.
Vehicle Code section 21806 covers yielding to an emergency vehicle. Again, although technically correct, also problematic. Several of the answers talk about hearing sirens and/ or seeing the emergency vehicle. If the emergency vehicle is approaching from the front or the cross street, please stay stopped. However, if the vehicle is approaching from the rear, please safely pass through the intersection and yield to the right. I wish more drivers did this.
We were looking for:
Vehicle Code section 21451. (a) A driver facing a circular green signal shall proceed straight through or turn right or left or make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits a U-turn. Any driver, including one turning, shall yield the right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.
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