Q A question for drivers who phone or text while driving: What following words don't you understand? Danger, irresponsible, unsafe, dumb, stupid, hazardous, lunacy, injury, death?
A Here are a few words they might understand: more expensive tickets.
Q I was pulled over recently for violating the hands-free cellphone law. I know. I really screwed up. I was looking at my phone at a red light. Hopefully I will learn my lesson and keep my phone away while I am driving.
My question is regarding the fine. The DMV website says the fine for a first offense is $20, but I am being charged $162. Is this normal? Sort of ridiculous that fees are so disproportionate to the cost of a ticket.
A It could be worse. The base fine is $20, with fees raising it to $159 (the price can vary a few bucks from county to county). But a bill working its way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk would raise the base fine to $30 and $199 with fees added. A second offense would raise that total amount to $371. Brown failed to sign a bill last year that would have increased the fine.
Q Heard from one teenager to another: "Texting while driving at night is so stupid. You can totally see the glow from the screen on your face."
A So true!
Q I find it strange that Roadshow is not aware that the DMV has increased the 2012 vehicle license fees by quite a bit! Is this a whodunit mystery? Good grief.
A A $12 increase in the registration fee went into effect last year, and fees in some counties were also raised around $10 for pothole repair and other needs. Here's a breakdown:
The registration fee increased to $69 from $56 to make up for $300 million that was shifted to county governments.
The license fee decreased from 1.15 percent to 0.65 percent of the value of the vehicle. The higher fee was temporary. It went into effect in 2009 and expired July 2011.
All vehicles six years old or newer pay a $20 fee. These are cars that are not required to undergo a smog check.
County and district fees are determined by each county or jurisdiction to enhance air quality and combat auto theft, driving under the influence, abandoned vehicles, etc.
Q I've been eager to ask if you know the answer to whether the very short (approximately 100-foot) one lane of San Felipe Road will be widened to two lanes like the rest of San Felipe. The spot in question is across from Evergreen College/Park in front of a new housing development south of Yerba Buena Road. I'm waiting for an accident caused by drivers not realizing there is a brief merging situation.
A The one-lane condition will likely remain for quite some time because of the nearby heritage oak tree that the city is trying to preserve. However, to address your concern, crews will shift the pavement merge arrows and the merge sign to give drivers more notice.
Q After reading the Interstate 5 horror stories, I'm wondering: In a few days I'm hauling my boat and trailer to Bakersfield. Would it be better to go straight east on 152/33 to 99 rather than the usual path down I-5 and crossing over on 46?
A That would work, but the 46 route gets good reviews.
Q After reading your column advising us about construction on Interstate 5 near Buttonwillow, we decided to detour east on Highway 46 to Route 99. It was only a few miles out of the way and although there was road work on 99, traffic kept moving. Coming back we took Route 43 up to 46, not a bad change of scenery, and the gas at Shafter was 20 cents cheaper. It was like a bonus fill-up.
Dee Dee Hanania
San Juan Bautista
A I like surprises like that.