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Crime Prevention: Traffic Safety Tip for April


The purpose of this circular is to provide information to Department personnel and community members in order to enhance their knowledge and awareness of traffic enforcement and traffic safety issues. The information in this circular can be used for crime prevention meetings, community presentations, and enforcement efforts. The emphasis this month is on Recreational and Off-Highway Vehicles.


Recreational Vehicles

Recreational vehicles (RVs) are a great means of escaping the hustle and bustle of city life while still affording all the amenities of home. Recreational vehicles can be as small as a camper shell on a pick-up truck or as large as a house car. By adhering to the following laws and safety tips provided by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), driving a RV will be a pleasurable and rewarding experience.


Fire Extinguishers – Section 28060(b) of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) states a RV with a cooking or heating stove shall be equipped with a fire extinguisher.

Towing – A RV is permitted to tow a trailer or other vehicle, but shall adhere to the following laws:

Ø Speed: 22406(b) CVC states a RV towing a trailer or other vehicle shall not travel at a speed greater than 55 miles-per-hour

Ø Designated Lanes: 21655(b) CVC states a RV towing a trailer or other vehicle shall drive in the right lane, unless passing, preparing to make a turn or while entering or exiting a highway. When a highway has four or more lanes, a RV towing a trailer or other vehicle shall use the two right lanes.

Ø Passengers: 21712(d) CVC states a passenger shall not be transported in a towed vehicle (with the exception of a properly equipped 5th wheel coach).

Ø Trailer Hitch and Safety Chain: 29003(a) CVC states a trailer hitch must be securely fastened to the towing vehicle, preferably to the frame as opposed to the bumper. 29004(a) CVC states a safety chain must connect both vehicles in the event the trailer hitch fails.

Ø Rear-View Mirrors: 26709(b) CVC states two rear-view mirrors are required, one affixed to each side of the vehicle, allowing the driver to see at least 200 feet behind the towed vehicle.

Ø House car: 12804.10(b) CVC states a house car in excess of 40 ft. up to the legal limit of 45 feet must be operated by a driver with a Class B non-commercial driver’s license.


Before venturing on a trip, the CHP recommends reviewing the following safety checklist:

q Tires – Legal minimum tread is 1/32 inch. Correct pressure gives longer wear.

q Lights – Check high beams and low beams, brake, turn and tail lights.

q Belts – Check for wear, and a snug fit on all drive belts (fan, alternator and air conditioner).

q Smog Control Devices – Ensure service is completed for compliance with emission standards for trouble-free, more efficient performance.

q Antifreeze/Coolant – Inspect the antifreeze/coolant for proper level and mixture.

q Oil – Change the motor oil and oil filter.

q Air Filter – Change the air filter.

q Shock Absorbers – Have a professional mechanic check the condition of the shock absorbers.

q Tune-Ups – Have a professional mechanic tune-up the engine.

q Windshield Wiper Blades – Check the condition of the windshield wiper blades.

q Drive Sober!

Off -Highway Vehicles

Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) include a variety of conveyances that include, but are not limited to the following:

Ø Dirtbikes,

Ø All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs),

Ø Go-carts, and

Ø Snowmobiles.

Off-highway vehicles can provide endless hours of fun and enjoyment, but can also be dangerous if the following precautions and safety tips are not followed.

Ø Tell someone (in detail) where you plan to ride and when you plan to return. If you do not return in a timely manner, the authorities will have a greater chance of locating you if they know where to look.

Ø Prior to departing, make sure your vehicle has plenty of fuel.

Ø Always attempt to go with a friend, taking two vehicles is better than taking one. If your vehicle has mechanical troubles, an accompanying friend can respond to get help.

Ø If you are riding in the desert, take plenty of water. Dehydration can occur quickly, especially if you encounter delays such as mechanical troubles.

Ø Avoid stopping in tall grass or brush, which can be ignited by the heat of your engine.


The four traffic divisions of the Los Angeles Police Department have developed the following strategies to help educate the public and enforce RV and OHV laws:

  • Conduct off-road enforcement details.
  • Conduct roving vehicle registration checks on RVs.
  • Provide information to Department personnel and community members via informational circulars and websites.
  • Discuss laws and safety issues at community meetings (this includes the El Protector Azul program).


It is the responsibility of all drivers and pedestrians to observe all traffic laws as described in the California Vehicle Code, and the daily mission of uniformed officers to ensure the safe movement of traffic and to enforce the traffic laws. These combined efforts will help ensure the safety of motorists throughout the City.