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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMUTER:Traffic Jammer, I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper on Interstate 680 Thursday afternoon, minding my own business, and a hearse with a single occupant and a casket passed by in the diamond lane. While sitting there I got to wondering … does a body in a casket qualify as a second passenger? Or a corpse anywhere in your car, come to think of it?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The intention of the commuter lane is to help people get to work more quickly, hence the appellation “commuter” lane. So no, the corpse does not qualify as a second passenger, because it has kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. Thanks for one of the best questions ever, and all you smart Claycordians, where did that last sentence come from?
COMMUTER: A traffic school instructor beat this into my head about 20 years ago: to avoid a red light violation, the rear bumper of your vehicle must be at least half way through the intersection when the light turns red.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer thought it would be instructive to follow up with our resident Claycord law enforcement officer, Leo, on this comment from our beloved RunnerDope. Here’s what Leo had to say:
“On red lights: if you are in the intersection before the lights turns red, you made it. You are in the intersection if your car has crossed the limit line (the white line at the intersection or the first line of the crosswalk as you enter the intersection). Think of a photo finish in racing.
Generally, in CLAYCORD traffic court, the judge wants to hear the driver was clearly behind the line after the light turned red. Like in baseball, the tie goes to the runner (driver).
A word of caution: If you’re trying to “make the light,” you’re driving in contrast to the spirit of the yellow light. Yellow means caution. I’ve successfully prosecuted cases where the drive made the yellow light, but was speeding to do it. No red light ticket, but the speeding was upheld.”
COMMUTER: I was wondering who I would speak to about having traffic patterns monitored for possible additional stop light/stop signs around the Clayton Valley Charter High School area in Concord. The traffic is so horrible, especially coming off Academy Road on to Alberta. Also, what about crosswalk lights?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: As promised, the Jammer ran the above question by Concord Traffic Czar Ray Kuzbari. Here’s his response:
“The City has been in contact with the school and they have expressed interest in rectangular rapid flashing beacon installations at two of the crosswalks on Alberta Way in front of the school. The City does not have enough funds in the budget to install these devices at this time.
Alternatively, the school has been reviewing the possibility of funding the installation of these devices to accelerate their implementation. The City would still be responsible for the long-term operation and maintenance costs.”
COMMUTER: The stat of x percent of people killed in auto crashes weren’t wearing their seat belt doesn’t really mean anything other than some number of people that were killed in auto crashes were not wearing seat belts. It doesn’t talk to survivability. What they should say is that x percent of people killed in auto crashes would have survived if they had worn their seat-belt.
–Lies, damn lies and statistics
TRAFFIC JAMMER: LDLS, the Jammer does take your point. A Web search did not turn up anything phrased that way; this is the closest the Jammer could find: “In fatal crashes during 2011, 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were thrown from their vehicles were killed. However, only 1 percent of crash victims who were buckled up were totally ejected from their vehicles, compared to 31 percent of those who were unbelted.”
Here’s what Chris Cochran of the California Office of Traffic Safety had to say:
- In 2012, there were 991 fatalities known to have been wearing seat belts and 487 known to not have been wearing seat belts. That’s roughly 2-to-1 ratio of belted to unbelted. The same year, observations showed that 96.4 percent of Californians used seat belts. That’s roughly a 32-to-1 ratio.
- NHTSA has estimated that, at California’s current seat belt usage rate, 1,220 lives were saved in 2012 by the use of seat belts. In addition, they estimate that 96 of the 487 mentioned above would have been saved if they all had been wearing a seat belt.
- California’s 2013 seat belt usage rate is 97.4%, the highest in history and second highest in the nation.
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 email@example.com