Tue. Oct 27th, 2020
who-cleans-up-the-debris-after-freeway-crashes?

Q. Dear Honk: How come the accident cleanup crews on the freeways sometimes leave automobile bumpers behind? I drove the 405 Freeway recently and saw three bumpers by the center divider where there had been an accident.

– Bill Coulson, Laguna Niguel

A. Not sure about that trio of bumpers, Bill, but Honk, with the help of a frequent column contributor, can explain what is supposed to happen.

When a vehicle crashes, the responding tow truck is supposed to clean up all of the debris and take it away, said Rafael Reynoso, an officer and spokesman with the California Highway Patrol out of its San Juan Capistrano station house.

A lot of junk on freeway shoulders comes from stuff spilling out of a car or a truck. Or perhaps an officer stopped traffic to drag a now-broken dresser that tumbled out of a pickup, a retread that peeled off a semi truck’s wheel or another item that showed up in a lane.

“When an officer places debris on a shoulder, he or she will ask CHP dispatch to notify Caltrans of the item,” Reynoso explained. “If it is an immediate hazard, Caltrans is requested to respond immediately; if not, it can be picked up on Caltrans’ regular cleanup schedule.”

Q. Dear Honk: It seems strange car dealers are allowed to place those large stickers for Prop. 65 warning of cancer on drivers’ side windows and not remove them when customers take delivery. The stickers are about 3-by-5 inches. It is amusing, at a stop light, to look at nearby cars and see how many people have their left-side vision obscured by those stickers. It is also strange that owners do not remove them. If front side windows can’t be tinted, why can they be stickered? If you address the question, it might inspire some people to scrape off those stupid stickers.

– Steve Porter, Huntington Beach

A. The current Honkmobile had one, and the gum-like glue that remained on the window after the sticker was pulled off frustrated the ol’ boy for days as he worked to remove it.

Strictly under the law, the stickers shouldn’t be there when the vehicles hit public streets.

“The driver would need to remove the sticker to be compliant with the law when the vehicle is being driven,” Officer Duane Graham, who doubles as a California Highway Patrol spokesman out of the Westminster station house, told Honk in an email. “It is ultimately the responsibility of the driver to make sure their vehicle is compliant.”

Honk got out his shovel and dug a little deeper into the issue of these stickers.

Sam Delson, a deputy director with the California Environmental Protection Agency, gave Honk the goods.

In 1986, California voters approved Prop. 65, which says certain businesses must warn consumers about chemicals that could potentially do harm, such as any associated with a vehicle.

The law “requires warnings for significant chemical exposures, but does not specify that they must be on stickers on the … window,” he said. “The vehicle-exposure warnings are examples of tailored warnings that can provide a ‘safe harbor’ against enforcement actions for businesses that choose to use them.”

Honkin’ cool: You know those electronic message boards on California freeways that offer sayings that aren’t terribly creative? Well, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, there was this on such a sign: “WHO HATES SPEEDING TICKETS? RAISE YOUR RIGHT FOOT” (Source: KCCI-TV).

To ask Honk questions, reach him at honk@ocregister.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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