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LED Lightbars-CHP, WAFJ

ACME

Well-Known Member
#1
On The 4th we took the Jeep up to Big Bear to meet another racer and do a little crawling. On the way up, a guy hauling arse crosses the line into our lane on a corner and I have to swerve scaring the crap out of my wife and I. About 5 seconds later a CHP passes us going his way and we joke, he'll get him.

Less than a minute later the CHP is on my tail and in the first turn with a pull off, lights us up? Waddles up on the pass side where (we are 50' off the road), walks pst the window and looks at the front bumper and walks ot the pass window and asks for paperwork; which we hand him and my wifes asks "what's wrong officer" (as we were doing about 35-40 on the curves uphill and it was a 40 or 45 zone)?

He says: "The lightbar you have on the front bumper isn't covered!"? I look at the switch and apologize asking was it on? He says no and asks if my wife if she has ID, walks away and then spends 10+ minutes running us. He finally comes back with a fix it ticket for a 20" light bar cover (REALLY) and a pep talk about how it's illegal to have uncovered off road lights... FYI the light bar has been on the Jeep for over 4 years and never heard a word about it before or the one on my FJ that I DD which has been it on for 5 years. We sign and he ignores a few other potential violations. During all this since he said uncovered lights and spun a U turn to run us down... My wife counted 3 cars hauling ass coming down the hill on the curve with tires screeching and 4 vehicles headed down with uncovered lights.

All day we joked about all the uncovered lights which was approximately 99.5% of ALL the jeeps and all the vehicles that had any aftermarket lights on them we saw: Big, small, round or square and every LED bar from 10" to the massive roof LED bars that are all the rage. It's would have given Super Trooper a boner!

In conversation with a local later that day, he said lots of rookie CHP's on the hill and lots of stupid tickets.

So yesterday I fabbed a quick Alum cover and zip tied it on. Found me a Sr. CHP officer today in a parking lot who signed off on it. I mentioned that it seemed tit for tat afterward and he chuckled and said basically; lot's of rookies and lots of light bar tickets as we have been told to crack down on their use on the roads as they are very popular and bright... Seems maybe ownership and "use" is a misunderstood term.

Don't know if it's a rookie thing, light bar deal or just a guy that dislikes off roaders or green Jeeps... But to flip a U turn and then haul tail to catch us over that just seems very odd.

Just a heads up!
 
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#2
Don't know if it's a rookie thing, light bar deal or just a guy that dislikes off roaders or green Jeeps... But to flip a U turn and then haul tail to catch us over that just seems very odd.

Just a heads up!
Forever ago I was passenger in a raced out (and slightly ricer) Acura that had a N20 bottle with a switch on the shifter. This was in San DIego. We got stopped for speeding and then the cop got very excited about writing the driver up for everything. Tint, headlights too low, roll cage obstructed the view. and then he saw the switch for the bottle and thought he hit the jackpot.

So, I guess it is/was not illegal to have a bottle in your car connected if the bottle was empty. He never checked if it was and that was the biggest ticket of them all so the driver was glad he skated on that one when he told the judge the bottle was empty.

I always wondered if you had off road lights in California and they weren't wired are they really lights? Couldnt one get creative with some wiring and make them selectively "not work"? I dunno. Just thinking out loud but I wonder if the definition of what constitutes what is an isn't a light might have a loophole. Anyone know? I live in AZ so we don't have that law. (this was posted via text behind tinted windows by someone carrying a concealed high capacity handgun while randomly changing in and out of the car pool lane) (but its also 250 degrees here) ;)
 

Mojave Traveler

Well-Known Member
#3
As long as the lights fall within the definition of auxiliary driving or passing lights under vehicle code 24402, they do not have to be covered. I'm guessing the light bars do not meet that definition.

I noticed that you stated he asked your wife for I.D...A federal appeals court determined a passenger in a vehicle does not have to provide I.D. to an investigating officer if that passenger has nothing to do with the investigation, although an officer may simply ask to see it..The big question is exactly how the officer asked for her I.D..If your wife felt compelled to provide the identification, that could be skirting on violating her civil rights,imo.

Personally, i wouldn't raise a fuss about it in this situation. Especially since you only got a fix-it ticket..Just providing info. for the future to anyone that cares to know their rights. Gotta be careful if you want to go down that road though.Any officer accused of violating a civil right may in turn sue the accuser in civil court.

What i would do is write a letter to the captain at whatever station he came from. I'm guessing Big Bear or Victorville..Explain what happened just as you did here with a professional and respectful overtone, pointing out the numerous and dangerous violations that you witnessed while you felt the officer singled you out for harassment.

He didn't necessarily violate the law under color of authority, but he probably did not follow department procedure, and he most certainly did not enforce the law in a manner consistent with providing public safety as established by P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards of Training). As per stated P.O.S.T. requirements, a peace officer is charged with enforcing the spirit of the law, and not the letter of the law.

You can fill out a quick complaint online here also: Commend or Complain
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
#4
Not for nothing, but I live in Big Bear and I can't stand all the Jeep dufusses who have to drive around with their light bars on, especially when it is snowing. I don't care about the cover issue as I know the vehicle code and know what's legal and what isn't, but turn the damn things off on the street with regular folks driving around. Not that you were, ACME, but it seems many of your 'friends' do up here. Must be a 'Jeep thing'.
 
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