All lighting equipment on a car must work — properly — and this includes brake (even the supplemental in the rear window), tail, head, reverse and license plate lights. Proper function includes proper colors of lights, so no funny designer colors are allowed. If a brake or taillight shows any amount of white light — bingo, it’s a violation.

If a broken brake/tail light is covered with tape, even if the tape is the same color as the light (nice try), it’s a violation. Folks seem to love using different colored lights to accessorize their cars. Neon lights for ground effects look cute in movies, and those stupid lights on windshield wipers, rims and the rest; well, they’re all pretty much illegal on the road. At car shows they’re fine, but Main Street isn’t a car show.

Vehicle Code Sneakies

Not all of us are as excitable about or have a Rolodex (remember those?) embedded in our respective psyches, in which we store the Vehicle Code as those of us in Traffic. I assure you though; it can come in handy when you’re looking for probable cause to stop someone you’d like to have a closer look at.

We know dirt bags usually drive really crappy cars, making themselves easy targets for traffic stops. That’s bush-league stuff. We’re looking for the smarter-than-average crook, the one who attempts to fly under the radar. Knowing the fine detail of an equipment violation or an overlooked moving violation makes for great PC, and yes, it’s okay to use the letter of the law to your advantage. So, tune your radar for “low-level” work.

Before we jump into it, I have to admit to a deficiency. I’m fairly fluent in the California Vehicle Code (CVC), but I don’t know a damn thing about the Insert-Every-Other-State Vehicle Code (IEOSVC). Consequently, you’ll have to take the plain text language here and do a bit of research to find the specific sections I’m talking about.


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