Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Bumper Stickers & Clever License Plate Frames, Gas Tax, The New Gas Tax, Would You Ride the Sleep Bus? + MORE

May 15, 2017 14:00 pm · 38 comments

Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every first and third Monday at 2 p.m. on

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every first and third Monday of the month at 2pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions.

Email your questions to

COMMUTER: I am just curious how drivers feel about bumper stickers and clever license plate frames.  

Do they look at them? If it sends a political message, does it make them do further research and/or instantly judge the driver in front of them? If it is funny, do they laugh?   If it is a tribute to a deceased, do they get sad or/and maybe say a prayer? Or is everyone too busy looking at their phones to even read the messages?

–Just Curious and Hoping for Fun Answers

TRAFFIC JAMMER: What a great idea! Thanks for writing in with this suggestion. The Jammer cannot resist sharing her response: Yes, when someone has a bumper sticker or decal on their back window mourning a relative, it is touching and sad. Beloved Claycordians, now it’s your turn. Feel free to share your thoughts!

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Recently, we’ve been discussing the new 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax going into effect Nov. 1. Chuckie the Troll expressed skepticism that the money would actually go to fix deteriorating freeways and local streets:

COMMUTER:  As for the latest tax from jerry-rig Brown, the man who as governor in the 70’s proclaimed, “No new freeways,” and sold off Caltrans’ right of way, and today is throwing BILLIONS of dollars down a high-speed rail to nowhere…I expect this money to be diverted for other stuff just like our other gas taxes and registration fees.

Chuckie the Troll

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Chuckie’s comment about High-Speed Rail put the Jammer in mind of a new startup that aims to whisk passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about six hours, the Sleep Bus.

The idea is you get on the bus at 11 p.m. and sleep all the way to L.A. in this luxurious Volvo vehicle, saving a night’s hotel fees. The cost is $48. The bus isn’t rolling yet, but the Jammer is curious … Beloved Claycordians, would you ride this bus? Because it could save Californians some $70 billion that otherwise would be spent on High-Speed Rail, yes?

COMMUTER: Let’s be real: Driving 55 on the freeway has now become a hazardous practice.


TRAFFIC JAMMER: This came up in a discussion of how to save gas. The single most effective thing a driver can do is to drive 55, but several Claycordians understandably balked at this suggestion in the last column.

Nytemuvr commented, “Proper tire inflation and wheel alignment are big determining factors for good vehicle gas mileage,” and of course, that is correct. ClayDen pointed out, “Driving smoothly at the speed limit will allow you to get to your destination in a reasonable time for a small penalty in gas mileage. After all, time is worth something.” This is another excellent point.

KP described driving 55 as “an invitation to road rage,” and the Jammer agrees that this is an important consideration. If you choose to drive 55, be sure to use the far right lane.

Generally, driving 55 is safer. In 1973, Congress required that states adopt 55 mph as the speed limit to receive their share of highway funds. It was done to save fuel, but the most dramatic result was a decrease in fatalities.

TRAFFIC JAMMER: That’s it for this week. Be sure to cruise by at 2pm on the first and third Mondays of the month for more traffic intelligence. Remember, whether you drive, walk, bike or hop Amtrak, BART, County Connection or AC Transit, Traffic Jammer Janis Mara is here to answer your questions.

Send your questions to

Just1dering May 15, 2017 at 2:21 PM

My favorite licence plate spotted in WC, 20 years ago.
Burgundy 280Z driven by a pretty lady and the plates read: LVS2BEX

Angel May 15, 2017 at 2:51 PM

@ Just1dering.. My favorite was similar.. A beautiful blonde driving an expensive sports car. The plates read.. WAS HIS 🙂

Some of my favorite bumper stickers..
Condoms are easier to change than diapers.
If we can send one man to the moon why can’t we send them all?
I love cops

Patty May 15, 2017 at 2:59 PM

I read bumper stickers. I used to also put my political stickers on my car. But my car got keyed every time. Care to guess what side I am on? Now I only use bumper sticker magnets. I can drive all over the freeways with whatever I want to say, and then when I park, I take the off so my car does not get keyed.

No Name May 15, 2017 at 3:09 PM

There is one vehicle in Claycord with bumper stickers which change to match recent news and are not always politically correct.
But there is a catch, driver is watching in rear view mirror for reactions from those behind reading bumper stickers at stop lights. He refers to it as his rear view mirror entertainment system.

Just a few
Save water fight forest fires with delta smelt
But Officer, the Russians hacked my speedometer
social media, ability to be stupid at speed of light
Some bosses are walking examples of why cloning is illegal

Simonpure May 15, 2017 at 3:21 PM

@ Patty. Same deal with sports decals. I never put them on anymore. Guarantee the perps that key cars because they don’t like your team are not sports fans at all but rather shallow minded punks\kids.

The Professor May 15, 2017 at 3:33 PM

My favorite license plate I’ve ever seen:

1 ADAM 12

It was on an old Plymouth. I had to roll down my window at the stoplight and compliment the driver. But now I am dating myself….

anotherdayinParadise May 15, 2017 at 3:39 PM

Back around 1980 there was a yellow 70’s Corvette with plate FRBRGR.
Thats the best one I ever saw.

FCA May 15, 2017 at 5:15 PM

I’d volunteer to drive the deportation bus. All aboard!!!

Sandy G. May 15, 2017 at 5:25 PM

My car has a large number of stickers about ferrets and legalization. People take pictures of her all the time. I’ve almost been rear ended on the freeway by people trying to get a picture. I like that she makes people smile

Back in the day... May 15, 2017 at 5:28 PM

I had a small sticker on my 60s Corvette door window:

If you enjoy your life as much as I enjoy my Corvette,
Don’t F$#% with it.

No one every messed with it.

Atticus Thraxx May 15, 2017 at 7:29 PM

I have never in my life read a bumper sticker or license plate and said to myself, “That’s a person I want to find out more about”. Ever.

chuckie the troll May 15, 2017 at 7:41 PM

I’ve often thought that Sedation Airlines would be a great idea for long-haul flights to Europe, Australia, or Asia. Instead of elbows in your ribs, they could stack us on beds 3-4 high, give you some ‘sleepy time’, and you’d arrive rested and refreshed. I imagine the line for the toilet when people woke up would be an issue, though.

dinkydau May 15, 2017 at 7:58 PM

The ones I look at and see that they are old now, but the Baby On Board stickers? Please, who cares if a baby is riding int he car. Or what about the Honor Roll Student ones. Theyre all over the place.
Or Keep Tahoe Blue stickers on the back of a black(of course) Cadillac Esplande. How can they keep Tahoe Blue with more development and the proliferation of the Black SUV’s. I just hake my head in disgust.

Long ago May 15, 2017 at 8:08 PM

Years ago when personalized license plates first came out, I saw one on a new little green sports car that I didn’t understand (at first). I read it out loud and then it made sense:
Try saying it out loud, letter by letter, and guess what kind of car it was 🙂

Turn and burn May 15, 2017 at 8:20 PM

I agree with dinkydau.

Anon May 15, 2017 at 8:29 PM

I know it’s politically incorrect to say this here, but I’d much rather ride a high speed train than drive or ride the bus, even a luxury bus. How can one call trains running from LA to the Bay Area or Las Vegas trains to nowhere? Anyone remember the interstate freeway system being built? It was a patchwork of four lane divided and two lane undivided roads for quite a while. Things take time folks.

JazzMan May 15, 2017 at 8:53 PM

Regarding the Night Bus, my sister saved a ton of money traveling in Europe by taking trains at night and sleeping, waking up at their destination, sightsee, then back on a train at night for the next stop. Stayed in a hotel maybe 1-2x over a 2 week trip. Brilliant!

Irish May 15, 2017 at 9:07 PM

Never got the Baby on Board sign either until recently. I was informed that’s for medical, fire, police etc to be aware a child may be in the car should there be an emergency. Makes total sense now.

jjshawk May 15, 2017 at 9:20 PM

I do look at bumper stickers, they may, or may not, tell something about the driver. I like the funny and creative stickers, but could care less for stickers with positions that are serious or “finger-pointy” in the messaging….especially if political or religious. Oh well. It’s all good, just live and let live.

My cars are all plain and boring on the outside, displaying no messages, no self-expression, and no political statements in support of any one person and/or, organization. I worry about a pu$$y-a$$, with thin skin, that may take a key to the paint job, or pour brake fluid on the car, if offered.

ClayDen May 15, 2017 at 9:55 PM


Many years ago, my wife and I spent 11 weeks in Europe while we traveling all over and spent 12 nights on the train as your sister did. Another advantage is that you arrive early and have a better chance at getting a hotel room at a reasonable price- very important when you are college students on a limited budget. BTW, we did the whole trip with only a general plan of where we were going, but no reservations. An unforgettable trip.

Dr. Jellyfinger May 15, 2017 at 10:55 PM

And when you go to Europe you notice nobody bothers to bathe anyway so the hotel rooms (with baths & showers) aren’t really necessary are they?

mary f. - ph May 16, 2017 at 12:04 AM

I was the one who advocated “55 saves lives”. Why wasn’t I quoted??

Silva May 16, 2017 at 3:08 AM

I find stickers and decals mildly interesting., but I don’t put them on my cars. A pickup truck I once had came with a a Mono Lake bumper sticker that was nearly as old as the truck. I never thought about it much, but it got positive reactions from other drivers sometimes. I think it was back when they were still draining it to death.

adingoatemybaby May 16, 2017 at 6:57 AM

Recently saw a funny sticker on a Prius.

“Cool Prius!” – Nobody

I think it’s great when people don’t take themselves too seriously.

Dr. Jellyfinger May 16, 2017 at 8:17 AM

3M TA3

Kirkwood May 16, 2017 at 10:39 AM

I tire of seeing proud honor student stickers. I once saw a sticker that read “Proud parent of kid who beat up your honor student”.

As for Baby on board signs, I think it’s just folks advertising their fertility.

Just1dering May 16, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Oh, favorite bumper sticker: Don’t argue with your wife, dicker.

Silva May 16, 2017 at 1:52 PM

I won’t be forgetting this anytime soon, though it happened long ago. I was driving somewhere a tad rural when I came up behind a Farmer Brown type in a dusty old antique pickup truck. He was wearing an old straw hat, and was a bit of an antique himself. His personalized plate was “EIEIO”. I would’ve even been willing to wager his last name was McGregor, too.

Silva May 16, 2017 at 2:14 PM

Or MacDonald.

Silva May 16, 2017 at 3:48 PM

Dr. Jellyfinger, I kind of have some inkling, but that for the most part is going right over my head. I’ll figure it out before too much more time passes, I hope.

I like the cute or funny license plates or bumper stickers May 16, 2017 at 5:19 PM

I do read license plates, and like the ones that are not immediately obvious, that are like a puzzle to solve. And I like humorous/clean-funny bumper stickers.

I don’t put them on my car. I would put something on my car to identify it, like a flag magnet or something like that.

Dr. Jellyfinger May 16, 2017 at 11:00 PM

Silva…. imagine the car with the plate 3M TA3 is behind you & you see his plate in your rear view mirror.

Dr. Jellyfinger May 17, 2017 at 8:36 AM

It was an actual plate a few years ago until DMV pulled it.
It is also pretty difficult for us people who own vehicles made in 1969 to get a plate with the number “69” in it.
DMV makes you explain customized plate meanings nowadays.

Silva May 17, 2017 at 9:43 AM

Dr. Jellyfinger, Aha! 😁

Turn and burn May 17, 2017 at 12:33 PM

@ Jellyfinger. When was the last time someone wasn’t riding or stopped behind your butt so close that you could actually see their license plate?

bob May 17, 2017 at 2:31 PM

Going up Concord Blvd at the intersection of farm bureau the traffic light will not change with a motorcycle

TRUTH May 17, 2017 at 3:16 PM

A great way to save gas is to not drive for short trips. Bikes are nearly as fast for a lot of short trips and much cheaper to operate.

Dr. Jellyfinger May 18, 2017 at 10:01 AM

@ Turn & burn ~ People with backwards spelling on their plates just stop short so you can read it… duh!

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