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You Know You Live in Southern California When...
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You know you live in southern California when the entire list of recognition items centers around driving--and you can relate to each one:

New Driving Laws for 2008 for state of California

1. Driving in the Carpool Lane - first time fine is $1,068.50 starting 7/1/08 (The $271 posted on the highway is old). Don't do it again because 2nd time is going to be double. 3rd time triple, and 4th time license suspended. Why are they getting rough? Because the carpool lane can cut commute time from an hour and 15 minutes to 30 minutes=many offenders.

2. Incorrect lane change - $380. Don't cross the lane on solid lines or intersections. This one is honored more in the breach than in the observance.

3. Block intersection - $485. When traffic is pulling to a stop at a light, there are so many cars that an intersection farther back will have stopped cars blocking it. So when stopping, drivers have to guesstimate if their final resting place will block an intersection, and, if so, stop behind the intersection. Purpose? So drivers trying to enter from the right or left have half a chance of getting somewhere.

4. Driving on the shoulder - $450. Tempting, but it destroys the ice plant used as ground cover. Not to mention which, doing so is dangerous, illegal--and expensive, if caught.

5. Cell phone use in the construction zone. - Double fine as of 07/01/08. You wouldn't want to set off the "fire in the hole" prematurely, would you?

6. Passengers over 18 not in their seatbelts - both passengers and drivers get tickets.

7. Speeders can only drive 3 miles above the limit. It used to be +5 miles an hour leeway, but no longer. This is a laugh, because drivers at or near the speed limit are more likely to be considered obstacles to be run off the road or circumvented via the shoulder (see #4).

8. DUI = JAIL (Stays on your driving record for 10 years!) I'd like to see drunk drivers face criminal charges. Driving anywhere at 2 a.m. (when the bars close) on a Friday or Saturday night is putting one's life in jeopardy.

9. As of 07/01/08 cell phone use must be "hands free" while driving. Ticket is $285. They will be looking for this like crazy - easy money for police department. Right now, on the sunny southern California freeways and streets, every other driver seems to have a cell phone jammed to one ear, chatting away, oblivious to the flow of traffic and the traffic laws (most of them the kind of driver who acts as if he/she owns the road, driving in honking big SUVs and Hummers and smaller, expensive BMWs and Mercedes and...). This law should be enforced!

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