05 October, 2007

CVC §21800(b)(1) is sweeping across the Golden State

(for the spoof).

A little known provision of the California Vehicle Code is spreading like a wildfire by the word of mouth. More people have learned about CVC §21800(b)(1) last month than about Ron Paul and, unlike his presidency, it is available for public benefit right now.

Rhonda Manning, 17, of Santa Rosa, Calif. wasn't concerned about CVC §21800(b)(1) for the most of her driving career. She even hadn't known what the Vehicle Code was -- up until last week when she was carpooling with her friend from softball practice. When Ms. Manning was nearing a 4-way stop intersection, another car approached from the street at her left almost simultaneously with her. Before Rhonda and the other driver begun the usual pantomime of waving each other through, her friend suggested her to use the CVC §21800(b)(1), thus avoiding the delay and a potentially costly misunderstanding.

"Last year insurers have lost $8.7 million to claims resulting from collisions at 4-way stop intersections" -- Melany Griffith, a San Diego area auto insurance agent says -- "People try to be nice, wave each other through and then still go at the same time. If only there was a way to decide who goes first!"

CVC §21800(b)(1), which demands that the vehicle on the left should yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on its right (making an exception for T-shaped intersections) does just that. "It is so cool!" -- Rhonda says -- "Sometimes older people can barely see me waiving and now I don't have to!"

So it is no wonder younger drivers fall in love with CVC §21800(b)(1) at first sight. Some even go further, indicating that they are "in the know" by maneuvering in accordance with CVC §§22107 and 22108. That is, signaling their turns and doing so 100 feet in advance. "At first it felt a little weird" -- admits Rhonda -- "you know, having to pause the conversation with my friend on the phone because I can't hear her when I, like, use my hand with the phone to switch the turn signal. But I feel so much better now, I get so much respect for what I do, so I may stop using the phone completely while driving."

And the auto insurance industry is taking notice. Currently, CVC §21800(b)(1) isn't mentioned in the Driver Handbook, on which the DMV written tests are based. "We are lobbying to include the language of CVC §21800(b)(1) into the Drivers Handbook" -- says Mrs. Griffith -- "So all new drivers will know about it and will use it to our mutual benefit".

It is expected that the amendment will get no objections from the Governor, in whose native Austria a CVC §21800(b)(1) analog has been helping to solve ambiguous road situations for several decades.

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