Misuse Windshield Wipers, Go to Jail

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The California legislature normally passes nearly four laws per single calendar day, many/most of which are mind-numbingly stupid, so it should perhaps come as no surprise that one state assemblyman has outsourced the idiocy to his own constituents.

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  1. If it’s being able to notice drivers she’s worried about, then why not expand the bill to require everyone to beep their horns constantly whenever it rains? She must hate the children.

    Still, it’s got to be better than the unwritten law on the DC beltway that says if it rains even a little, no one is allowed to go over 40 and every other driver must become retarded.

  2. There’s a law like this in Florida. I believe it’s a good practice but I tire of those who think every good practice must have the police powers invoked.

    Besides I thought it never rained in [Southern] California. 🙂

  3. And then there’s the bit where those in the California legislature vote for stuff, even when they aren’t there.

  4. Acually Mo, I added the [Southern] ’cause I thought it might help people get my joke. Didn’t work, huh? Well I guess I’ll have to keep my day job.

  5. We have an identical law here in VA. I’m not sure how many idiot cops actually pay attention to it though. They’re probably too busy looking out fer yung’ns with their buttcracks showin’ fer all the werld ta see.

    And, either way, this type of thing should be covered at the discretion of the officers under standard reckless driving statutes. If it’s nearin’ pitch black because of rain and clouds, then, yeah, that constitutes a danger, right? But if there’s a little sprinking of rain and it’s still pretty light outside, why would you need to turn on your lights? I have DRL’s anyway, so I needn’t worry bout it.

    It’s funny, though: Radley Balko has a little thing he does on his blog which he also calls “There Oughta Be a Law”, which chronicles stupid, inane laws across the country. This idiot assemblyman actually went out searching for stupid laws to enact. Yeehaw!

    I think there oughta be a law against enacting stupid laws.

  6. “Another local winner is Woodside High School senior Aaron Thomas Woolway, who is concerned about the high price of gasoline and proposed a requirement that representatives from the major oil companies explain their pricing criteria to the Assembly’s Select Committee on Gasoline Competition, Marketing and Pricing.”

    Oh, yeah, a REAL winner. Dick. How about a law mandating that all these idiot kids take a class in basic economics. “Explain their pricing criteria”? I’ll save you fools some time; here’s the “pricing criteria”: we’ll charge whatever people will pay for it.

    At the same time, why not enact a law requiring various governments to “explain the taxing criteria for their exhorbitant gasoline taxes which drive the price of gasoline up even more”? I might even support that one.

    Seriously, though, why require the oil companies to explain themselves, and not the theiving politicians?

  7. How about a law repealing all laws before it? Get back to square one…

  8. “Preventing car accidents and holding oil companies accountable for gas prices — these are the goals of local residents who hope to see their ideas become California law.

    The residents are the latest winners of state Assemblyman Joe Simitian’s annual “There Oughta Be A Law” contest.”

    I’ve recently concluded that I am way, way too cynical. But stuff like this really makes any chance for recovery that much more difficult..

    It’s bad enough that it’s an assumed given that many, if not most, problems (real or imagined) can be solved by WRITING LAWS, but it degenerates into some kind of game-show.

    ..left…eyelid..twitching…

  9. I think there oughta be a law against enacting stupid laws.

    There is: its called the Constitution. Unfortunately, it was itself converted into a stupid law by people who somehow convinced themselves that an inanimate document was, nonetheless, “living.”

  10. Seriously, though, why require the oil companies to explain themselves, and not the theiving politicians?

    Evan, don’t you know that the politicians are just looking out for you? I mean, we all know that the oil executives would eat your children if given half a chance.

  11. RC: I know, it was tongue-in-cheek.

    Mr. Nice Guy: There’s nothing quite like giving ordinary citizens the power to control other people’s lives to get them to support you. I’m sure the ass’lyman is a local hero now…when he SHOULD be strung up in the town square. Crooks, all of em.

  12. “Crooks, all of em.”

    To quote the great Dr. Thompson (RIP)

    THEY SHOULD BE LOCKED UP!

  13. How about a law repealing all laws before it? Get back to square one…

  14. Isaac, I got the joke, which means I’m getting old.

  15. Isaac,
    My apologies. I should hop back in the crib with my bah-bah.

  16. Someone remind me why democracy is a good idea….

  17. Having been an Alabama resident for the past 15 months I was completely unaware of the existence of a windshield wiper lights come on law. In fact I drove for a considerable amount of time on wednesday without my lights on but with the windshield wipers on and saw a couple of police cars while breaking the law. The police had their wipers on but no lights either…

  18. Better idea how about:

    “The we should get rid of that stupid law contest”

  19. Illinois has had this law for years. They even had nice big billboards prmoting it…

    “Wipers on, Lights On. Its the law”

    Since I have personally witnessed quite a few people who haven’t had their lights on at appropriate times, this law doesn’t bother me as much as seat belt laws do.

    There are a lot of things that seem like common sense, like for example turning on your headlights when a storm hits and visiblity is low. I admit that a law seems like overkill, but how do you enforce something like this without a law? If you are a person who cant be bothered to turn their lights on during a storm or something, shouldn’t there be some consequence?

  20. Someone remind me why democracy is a good idea….

    It’s not a good idea, it’s just an idea like any other. The proof is in the application. So far mankind does not have an admirable track record in applying social theory.

  21. Mo

    Rule No. 1. Never apologize for not getting a bad joke:)

    No wait that’s rule number

  22. If you’ve got to have a law requiring headlights in the rain, then requiring headlights when the wipers are on is a nice bright-line rule that has the added bonus that it can be implemented by automation. It could have been a lot worse: The alternative would be requiring headlights whenever an officer thinks it’s damp and wants to give you a ticket.

  23. Headlights-and-wipers is the law here in NC. I can tell the Californians one thing right now: It doesn’t help. If you need a sign or a law to tell you to turn your freaking lights on when you can barely see the car in front of you through the rain, you’re too stupid to be driving. Which is most of the people on the roads here, anyway.

  24. MyNameIsAsh,

    “Having been an Alabama resident for the past 15 months I was completely unaware of the existence of a windshield wiper lights come on law.”

    In case you haven’t noticed. Here in ‘Bama, no one bothers to obey most of the laws anyhow. 🙂

  25. More laws to protect the stupid and increase the amount of idiots in the gene pool.

    The consequences for not turning on your lights when you need them are higher chances of running into things or being ran into.

    The resulting deaths will help this country by eliminating the idiots who need eliminating.

    Laws simply line the already bloated govts pockets with cash from fines. They have learned how to use law to generate more revenue.

    Only law that needs to be enacted is one that enacts an irrevocable instant death penalty for liars and greedy politicians who are proved guilty of such acts.

    That would fix most of society’s problems.

  26. Gosh, at the rate of “4 new laws per day”, California must be just about perfect by now!

  27. The consequences for not turning on your lights when you need them are higher chances of running into things or being ran into. The resulting deaths will help this country by eliminating the idiots who need eliminating.

    I don’t think pedestrians who get run over by cars they can’t see & who can’t see them are “idiots who need eliminating”.

  28. Headlights-and-wipers is the law here in NC. I can tell the Californians one thing right now: It doesn’t help. If you need a sign or a law to tell you to turn your freaking lights on when you can barely see the car in front of you through the rain, you’re too stupid to be driving.

    Here in Canada, we eliminate that problem by requiring all cars to have daytime running lights.

    Happy Canada day, everyone.

  29. Matt Welch is hereby formally invited to come up to Sacramento to see some of these bills make their way through the process.

    The first two bills on the February post didn’t make it through the first committee — thankfully.

    The legislative kabuki is really amusing if one has the requisite sense of detachment. Also bear in mind that today the Governor and the head of the newly-named “Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation” are unveiling a new logo — as the entire prison health care system is going into federal receivership because it is so ineptly run.

    Ivan Reitmen must surely be channeling Howard Hawks for this screwball comedy, if it actually had a director.

  30. Rhywun – you’re right, but does that mean there should be a law???? Jesus Fucking Christ. Maybe, just maybe I could get behind an information campaign. But just the other day I was driving here in Phoenix, and we had a “cloud burst” sort of situation where there was quite a downpour, and I was having trouble seeing. I obviously had my wipers on, but then I realised, “Hmm, people will have a hard time seeing me so I should turn my lights on.” Did I need a fuckin’ law or info campaign to tell me that? No, my brain figured it out. Would I have thought of it even, say, 5 years ago? Maybe not. But is that really what our government was created to do? I think not. I think the constitution was more about what shouldn’t be done, not what should be done.

    Something about, if it’s not in the original document, then it’s not allowable?

  31. Nikos — I hereby take you up on your invitation. What do you do up there?

  32. Grizzly:

    Is there any truth to the there being an Alabama law for open containers for the passenger which only merits a $5 fine. A co-worker of mine swears this is true…

  33. HA HA!

    I live in Alabama and it has been a great thing in practice. However, I have a friend of Latino ancestry who actually had this work against him. Local police here actually stopped and harassed him because he used his windshield washer/wipers and subsequently did not turn on his lights on a clear day…..

  34. If I activate my windshield cleaning system and my wipers come on, do I have to turn on my headlights? If a cop sees me go by with wipers on (from the cleaning) but no headlights it seems I have broken the law.

    Honesty though I would like to see all governments spend all there time passing inane and useless laws instead of passing laws that really screw people over.

  35. So, is Joe Simitian paying royalties to the creators of the comic panel, There Oughta Be A Law, Al Fagaly and Harry Shorten?

    Kevin

    (preferred Jimmy Hatlo’s non-legislative They’ll Do It Every Time.)

  36. Matt — I’m Associate Director of the California Capital Office of the Drug Policy Alliance. I am also blogging fairly regularly on blog.drugpolicy.org.

    All of the committee action on bills has subsided for the most part. Most draconian sentencing bills have stalled. But there is one bill — SB 803 (Ducheny) — that would unravel Prop. 36 by jailing drug possession offenders instead of affording them treatment as the initiative mandates. It’s really an end-run around the will of the electorate…

    Anyhow, a word of warning: triple digit temperatures have arrived in Sacramento!

  37. …triple digit temperatures have arrived in Sacramento! – Nikos L.

    Since Californians are such dedicated environmentalists, there oughta be a law banning air conditioning in their Capitol, in order to set a good example to the rest of the state.

    Adjournment would soon follow.

    Kevin

  38. Only when the folks in Washington, DC, decide to forsake central air and heat…

    There *is* a reason why the Capitol of the U.S. was built on a humid swamp that was prone to blizzards in the winter… Since the introduction of climate control, it’s been all downhill.

  39. I believe it’s a good practice but I tire of those who think every good practice must have the police powers invoked.

  40. Would I have thought of it even, say, 5 years ago? Maybe not. But is that really what our government was created to do? I think not. I think the constitution was more about what shouldn’t be done, not what should be done.

  41. I just heard recently about a city that when it snowed they had policemen blocking the freeway entrance. That’s sad when your own state doesn’t trust anyone driving in the snow. That just goes along with your “police powers” being invoked.

  42. I just heard recently about a city that when it snowed they had policemen blocking the freeway entrance. That’s sad when your own state doesn’t trust anyone driving in the snow. That just goes along with your “police powers” being invoked.

  43. I just heard recently about a city that when it snowed they had policemen blocking the freeway entrance. That’s sad when your own state doesn’t trust anyone driving in the snow. That just goes along with your “police powers” being invoked.

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