Those electronic speed signs are there to help you, not cite you

Q. Honk, on a stretch of La Veta Avenue in Orange the city has installed electronic speed-limit signs. On each sign is a mounted camera that flashes when you are going too fast. California lawmakers have not passed speed cameras into law. Is Orange issuing tickets for speeding, even though there are no posted signs warning you that enforcement is in play?

– Roy Miyaji Cypress

A. A federal grant covered the cost of 12 such signs, and the city placed them in clusters of four on different roadways. They were installed a month ago and were flipped on about two weeks ago.

“They record speed, but they are not used for enforcement,” said Dave Allenbach, a traffic analyst for Orange. “There are no cameras with these signs. The purpose of the signs is to get people to slow down.”

They might be installed, for example, in places where there are a lot of pedestrians.

The signs are set to show your speed if it is within 5 mph of the posted speed limit. If a driver is going more than 5 mph above the limit, a strobe light goes off and, so as not to encourage knuckleheads, the sign flashes “Slow Down” and not the actual speed.

Honk has seen what you are referring to, Roy, in years past in the Washington, D.C. area and in Arizona: Roadside devices that take photos or videos of speeders, who receive tickets in the mail.

In California, though, an attempt by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, to set up a five-year pilot program with the automated, ticket-producing systems on various streets, including in Southern California, was shelved by the Legislature in May.

If ever approved here, the penalties apparently would be much less than a typical speeding ticket; the goal was to reduce deaths and injuries.

Q. I don’t know if you have mentioned it, but I read somewhere that the Department of Motor Vehicles’ automatic extensions for the pandemic do not apply to commercial driver’s licenses.

– John Bowen, Los Alamitos

A. Turns out truckers got a break, too, because of the coronavirus.

Honk reached out to the DMV in Sacramento and learned that those with commercial driver’s licenses that were to expire after March 1, 2020, were extended until Aug. 31, 2021.

Those with suspended driver’s licenses, of course, didn’t get the extension. Driver’s licenses weren’t updated, but the licenses remained valid with law enforcement notified.

For commercial driver’s licenses that expire starting Sept. 1, it’s back to renewing online or in a DMV office.

A commercial driver’s licenses, or an endorsement on a license with such privileges, are required to drive certain vehicles including semi-trucks, buses and cement trucks.

Honkin’ fact: LED lighting, to boost safety, is coming to the 55 Freeway between the I-405 and the 91 freeways, said Darcy Birden, a Caltrans spokeswoman for Orange County. Other stuff, such as new median barriers and modified signage, is coming, too, but motorists will have to be patient as the $25 million project likely won’t start construction for a few years and is slated for completion in 2028.

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