California Highway Patrol Hassles Toyota Tacoma Owner for Uncovered Light Bar

Clearly, they've solved all their other outstanding crimes. 

California Highway Patrol

Ah, Saturdays. They’re the weekend’s start where endless possibilities and the joyful knowledge work comingle until you’re overcome with happiness and peace. Unless you’re one unlucky Toyota Tacoma owner who found themselves on the wrong side of the California Highway Patrol for the horrendously awful crime of having an off-road light bar. Yes, you read that right.

According to the CHP’s Buttonwillow office, which posted the tale to Facebook, an officer stopped the egregiously law-breaking Toyota Tacoma driver bright and early Saturday morning for having an off-road light bar, which as you can see, is accurate. Likely to the chagrin of the aforementioned owner, CHP’s post cheekily reads, “We hope everyone’s 2020 is as bright as this guys off-road LED light bar. However, all off-road lights must be covered while the vehicle is driven on a maintained roadway.”

The post also quoted California vehicle code 24411—the law pertaining to the addition of off-road vehicle lights—which states, “whenever the vehicle is operated or driven upon a highway, shall be covered or hooded with an opaque hood or cover, and turned off.

And while we concede that there’s no reason to have off-road lights, such as the Toyota’s LED light bar, in places like downtown Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco, Buttonwillow is located in Kern County, California, a massive rural area where black-tail and mule deer, coyotes, black bear, and mountain lions all roam and frequently cross highways without warning. Having a secondary light source that illuminates the road far better than those provided by the manufacturer, is often the safest thing to do. 

California’s own legislature recently attested to that assertion by stating California sees at least 20,000 animal-related accidents each year. And because of that frequency, and the cleanup often associated with such accidents, the state will begin to implement a roadkill removal program for those who accidentally come face-to-face, or in this case bumper-to-Bambi, with one of the state’s large game. 

Now, we’re not saying that the Tacoma’s lightbar was attached for such well-thought-out reasoning, but the case can be made that the addition is a safety feature and not a detriment to the public. If it was a more flagrant setup, there would certainly be cause for the CHP to stop the driver. But for the setup shown above, why ruin someone’s weekend so close to its start?

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