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No April Foolin' ... These Traffic Laws Are Weird!

Weird-Laws_art_2[4].jpg Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan; Viktoria_Stam, PrettyVectors, Aleutie, mangsaab/iStock/Thinkstock

CARS.COM — Saturday is April Fools’ Day, and rather than run some outrageous headline and hope you actually click on the link to find out that it’s FAKE NEWS, we figured we’d instead write about something that seems like B.S. but isn’t. Weird traffic laws abound across these United States, and one need only sift through legalese to find the strangest strictures.

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A cursory Google search for “weird traffic laws” will turn up plenty of examples of bizarre automotive legislation, such as Alaska’s alleged ban on strapping the family dog to the roof of your car; a California prohibition on women driving while wearing a housecoat; and the supposed illegality in Tennessee of shooting an animal from a vehicle except a whale. We can’t vouch for the veracity of any of these (likely antiquated, certainly suspect) laws, but we found plenty of our own that are, or at least were, on the books.

Here are 17 of the weirdest traffic laws we came across…

Get Off Scoot Free

The rider of a motor scooter in California shall not attach himself or herself to any other vehicle on the roadway.

We envision this as being like when Michael J. Fox grabbed onto cars to be towed along on his skateboard in “Back to the Future,” only dorkier.

Peripherally Related

No person shall operate a vehicle California while wearing glasses having a temple width of a half-inch or more if any part of the temple extends below the center of the lens, interfering with the driver’s lateral vision.

This is colloquially known as “The Oakley Law.” Because, California.

Feather Dusting

Weird_Traffic_Laws_Chicken_Truck.jpg DelmasLehman/iStock/Thinkstock

A vehicle transporting birds may not be driven on a California highway unless it is covered so as to prevent any of its contents — except clear water or feathers — from “dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, spilling or otherwise escaping.”

This actually makes sense. If you’ve ever had a feather duvet, you know how those li’l suckers find their way out and make your bed look like a chicken coop after the fox rolls through.

Sick Burn, Bro

Weird_Traffic_Laws_Cigarette.jpg Giulio_Fornasar/iStock/Thinkstock

No person shall throw upon any California road or highway a lighted or nonlighted cigarette, cigar, match, or any flaming or glowing substance. “This section shall be known as the Paul Buzzo Act.”

That last clause is a reference to a 1970 law enacted in response to a letter from then-11-year-old Paul Buzzo, trolling state legislators about the original language of the law that prohibited only burning cigs and cigars and noting that the road doesn’t burn, so they added the “nonlighted” part.

Thesau-race

A driver in Texas may not participate in any manner in:

  • A race
  • A vehicle speed competition or contest
  • A drag race or acceleration contest
  • A test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle
  • In connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record

Got it, no racing.

What the Hay?

No one may drive a truck or tractor in Texas while another person occupies the trailer being drawn unless it’s a hayride.

To be fair, this is a legitimate concern in Texas.

Have Trailer, Will Travel

Weird_Traffic_Laws_Trailer.jpg rpernell/iStock/Thinkstock

No one in Texas may occupy a mobile home while it is being moved.

Again, Texas.

Flow of Traffic

Motorists in Texas may not drive over a fire hose on a street if the hose is intended for use at a fire alarm.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back — stop on a hose, break your momma’s nose?

Resisting a Rest

Visitors to any Texas “rest area, comfort station, picnic area, roadside park or scenic overlook” are forbidden from remaining longer than 24 hours or erecting a tent, shelter, booth, or structure.

This law presumably was enacted as a direct result of, and likely is only enforced during, Grateful Dead reunion tours.

Not Payable on Death

Weird_Traffic_Laws_Hearse.jpg YanC/iStock/Thinkstock |

No funeral director or funeral home in Florida shall be held liable for the death or injury of anyone driving or riding in a funeral procession.

Especially the person in the back of that long car all the way up at the front of the line.

Golf Carts Crossing

Weird_Traffic_Laws_Golf_Cart.jpg sonyae/iStock/Thinkstock

Residents and guests of a Florida mobile-home park that straddles both sides of a street or highway are permitted to drive a golf cart across the dividing roadway.

To be fair, this is a legitimate concern in Florida.

Pet Detective

Any motorist in New York who strikes and injures or kills a horse, dog, cat or “animal classified as cattle” shall stop and endeavor to locate the owner of the animal.

Wasn’t this an episode of “Seinfeld”?

New York Plate of Mind

Any New York resident is entitled to, on request, a distinctive “Discover Queens” license plate, designed in cooperation with the Queens Tourism Council.

A rejected earlier version of the license plate bore the full slogan: “Because You Can No Longer Afford Brooklyn … Discover Queens.”

Points Off the Board

No automobile passenger in West Virginia is permitted to ride on the running boards of any motor vehicle while said vehicle is being driven.

But what if it’s during a hayride?

Weaponized Wheels

No vehicle being driven on any Rhode Island highway may have tires with “pointed spikes” sticking out.

“Mad Max: Fury Rhode Island”?

No, Wheelie?

Anyone in Illinois who rides a moped on one wheel shall be guilty of the offense of “aggravated operating of a moped.”

Seriously, being found guilty by a jury of one’s peers on counts of wanton acts of aggravated moped operation is as badass as any moped rider can ever hope to be.

Load, Have Mercy!

No religious organization bus may be operated on any street or highway in Illinois while carrying more than the manufacturer-rated passenger capacity or gross weight rating.

In other words, to quote Sister Mary Patricia at the Our Lady of Mundane Tasks Spring Formal, “Leave room for the Holy Spirit!”

Photo of Matt Schmitz
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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