New law No. 1: Today is the last day that you can drive around with a cell phone in one hand and your steering wheel in the other. If you haven't already purchased your bit of hands-free technology, you better pencil in that trip to the wireless store today.
A law enforcement officer can pull you over just for this infraction. The base fine for the first offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. With the addition of penalty assessments, the fines can be more than triple the base fine amount.
Pain in the gas: Exited the freeway a few days back and passed a young man holding a piece of cardboard with the following disconcerting words scrawled on the front, "Please help - Need gas and tires."
Disturbing vanity plate: It's a good thing I didn't see the black Nissan with this vanity plate on one of my bad hair days or I might have been inclined to take it personally: URUGLE (you are ugly).
New law No. 2: Young drivers, under the age of 18, will have to hold off on all technology-based communication while driving as of tomorrow. That means no chit-chatting on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, no texting, no paging, no typing MySpace.com messages on the portable laptop, and no good old-fashioned walkie-talkie talking while driving a motor vehicle. The same $20 fines for first offenses and $50 fines for subsequent offenses that apply to adults will be assigned, although drivers under the age of 18 cannot be pulled over specifically for driving with a hands-free device.
Pain in the gas: No one thought twice about the tanker truck in the gas station in Burbank in the wee hours of the morning a few weeks back. Little did anyone know that instead of pumping diesel gas into the underground tank, the truck was actually taking it out. In all, the thief got away with over 4,000 gallons of black gold.
Disturbing vanity plate No. 2: The vanity plate I spotted on a red Miata gave way too much information for my taste. IMEZRU (I'm easy, are you?)
Pain in the gas: A local television news station decided to take a fresh look at the toll that gasoline prices are taking on people. They took the blood pressure of several drivers after they pulled into the gas station and then again after they had pumped a significant portion of their disposable income into their tanks. The news reported that several people who were interviewed showed an increased blood pressure reading of 8-10 points.
Pain in the gas/cool vanity plate: Saw this very meaningful vanity plate on a blue Toyota Prius: OPECF8 (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fate). Kudos to the clever Prius owner.
Michelle Pearl is a longtime traffic-school instructor and the owner of InterActive Traffic School Online, www.trafficinteractive.com. Send questions to email@example.com or write to DriveTime, c/o the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, PO Box 4000, Ontario, CA 91761. Some reader questions will be answered in print.