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A Press Democrat Blog

Road Warrior

Trying to make sense out of getting around

Santa Rosa gas price finally drops, barely

The days of record high gas prices in Santa Rosa appear to be over. Let’s hope. AAA reported Wednesday that the average price for regular in the Santa Rosa area had dropped less than a penny to $4.642 from the record $4.65 reported the day before. Just a week ago it had been $4.251 and a month ago it had been $4.187. Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com, said he expects prices in Santa Rosa and across California… Read More »

Governor rejects 3-foot rule for drivers when passing bicyclists

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday rejected a legislation that would have required drivers to be at least three feet away when passing bicyclists in most cases and would have allowed drivers to cross solid yellow lines to pass if safe to do so. Brown vetoed a similar bill last year. While applauding the continuing effort by state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, to improve bicycle safety, Brown said in his veto message that “crossing a double yellow line is an… Read More »

Governor vetoes higher fines for cellphones while driving

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday for the second year in a row vetoed a bill that would have raised the fine for drivers who illegally use cellphones. The bill, Senate Bill 1310 by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, would have increased the base fine from $20 for a first offense to $30. “I believe the current fines and penalties of $213 and $336 for cellphone use and texting while driving are a powerful deterrent,” Brown said in his veto message,… Read More »

Governor OKs bill allowing driverless cars

Here’s an interesting story from the Associated Press about driverless cars: MOUNTAIN VIEW (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that will pave the way for driverless cars in California. The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles on state roads and highways. The governor signed it at the Mountain View headquarters of Google Inc., which has been developing autonomous car technology and lobbying for the regulations. Self-driving… Read More »

Use your smartphone for proof of car insurance

You can’t use your smartphone to text or hold it to make calls while driving, but you’ll be able to use it to show police your proof of insurance. Here’s an interesting report from the Associated Press on that: SACRAMENTO (AP) — California drivers will be able to use their smartphones to show they have auto insurance under a bill approved by Gov. Jerry Brown. AB1708 gives Californians the option of presenting their proof of insurance on a handheld device… Read More »

Senate OKs bill with strict rules for passing bicyclists

The state Senate on Friday approved legislation that would require drivers to be at least three feet away when passing bicyclists in most cases and would allow drivers to cross solid yellow lines to pass if safe to do so. If safety conditions didn’t allow for the three-foot clearance, then drivers would have to slow to a reasonable and prudent speed, taking into consideration the size and speed of their vehicle, traffic, weather and road conditions. The base fine for… Read More »

State Senate votes to hike cellphone fines, penalize bicyclists, too

A Palo Alto state senator again is trying to raise the fine on motorists who illegally use cellphones and, for the first time, to fine bicyclists who text or talk on a hand-held phone. The state Senate on Monday approved 24-9 legislation by Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian calling for the new fines and sent it to the Assembly. The Legislature last year passed a similar bill by Simitian, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it. Last year’s bill would have raised… Read More »

Brown vetoes tougher DUI checkpoint rules

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have set stricter rules for police in operating DUI checkpoints, including giving two hours notice of a checkpoint’s specific location. The bill, AB1389, by Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, would have set uniform standards for how DUI checkpoints operate across the state, based on a 1987 state Supreme Court ruling, Ingersoll v. Palmer, that allowed the checkpoints if certain factors are met. Local checkpoints have been operated in accordance with the… Read More »

Unlicensed drivers get break

Police will be prohibited from impounding cars of most unlicensed drivers stopped at DUI checkpoints under a bill signed Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Under the bill, AB353, cosponsored by by Assemblymen Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, and Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, police can’t impound the car of an unlicensed driver who is sober if the car wasn’t used in a crime, other than being driven by an unlicensed driver; if a licensed driver is available to drive the car at… Read More »

Governor vetoes bicycle bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed legislation that would have required drivers to make sure they stayed at least three feet away when passing a bicyclist or slowed to no more than 15 mph when passing if less than three feet away. While noting he “wholeheartedly” supports bicycle safety, Brown said in his veto message that “Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol have raised legitimate concerns about other provisions, such as the 15-mph requirement. On streets with speed limits of… Read More »