On The Road
- Published on Tuesday, 04 January 2011 16:00
- Written by George Valverde - Director, California Department of Motor Vehicles
Q: I almost got in a car crash when I was on a mountain road because I wasn’t sure what to do and neither was the other driver. Who has the right of way?
A: When two vehicles meet on a steep road where neither can pass, the vehicle facing downhill must yield the right-of-way by backing up until the vehicle going uphill can pass. The vehicle facing downhill has the best control of the vehicle when backing up. More rules of the road can be found online in the California Driver Handbook at www.DMV.ca.gov.
Q: I own a local construction firm and all of my employees have cell phones with the push-to-talk feature. Is using that feature allowed while driving under the cell-phone laws now in effect?
A: No. There is only an exception to use the push-to-talk feature for those operating commercial motor trucks or truck tractors (excluding pickups), implements of husbandry, farm vehicles and tow trucks. Also, operators of an authorized emergency vehicle and motorists operating a vehicle on private property are exempt. However, if a hands-free earpiece or other hands-free device is attached to the push-to-talk feature, it is acceptable. To have your questions about cell-phone-related driving laws answered, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/cellularphonelaws/index.htm.
Q: I am a car dealer and like to know when there are any new laws or updates that may affect my customers and the way I do business. Is there an easy way to stay in touch with DMV happenings?
A: Yes. Subscribe to receive DMV e-mail alerts. These notify you immediately when we have a new publication or an update posted on the department’s Web site that may affect your customers or business. Visit www.emailalert.dmv.ca.gov/subscriptions.asp, enter your e-mail address and choose the types of alerts you would like to receive. This is a great tool for any business and can easily be updated or canceled at any time. You can also visit the DMV Web site, www.dmv.ca.gov, to find general information about all things DMV.
Q: I just got a mo-ped to save gas and I’ve heard a lot of different information regarding where I can ride it. I’ve been told that you cannot ride a mo-ped in a bicycle lane. Is this true?
A: You may ride a mo-ped in a bicycle lane at a reasonable speed but must be careful of bicyclists using the lane. For more information on mo-peds, see the California Motorcycle Handbook on the DMV Web site in the Publications section.
Q: Is there a course available for my grandmother to improve her driving skills alongside other people her age?
A: Definitely. Your grandmother can attend a Mature Driver Improvement Course, which is tailored to the needs of older drivers. In this course, topics such as defensive driving, California vehicle laws, the effects of medication on a person’s safe driving ability and more will be discussed. The six-hour course costs $330, which includes a DMV certificate. If your grandmother presents this certificate to her insurer, she may be eligible for a reduction in her vehicle insurance premium. A list of approved programs can be found on the DMV Web site at www.dmv.ca.gov/about/senior/senior_top htm.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed George Valverde California Department of Motor Vehicles director in March 2006. Valverde has been in public service for more than 30 years, focusing on operations and budget issues. Prior to his DMV appointment, he served as undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency (2004-2005) and deputy secretary for fiscal operations (1995-2003).