5 Questions: California Highway Patrol

Kerri Rivas, a spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol, answers some important questions for drivers.

Patch: Is that true CHP writes tickets to generate revenue for the state?

Kerri Rivas: There is a misconception that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) writes tickets to generate revenue for its operations. Nothing could be further from the truth. The CHP receives no funding from traffic fines. We enforce the law for one compelling reason - to save your life! If you wish to learn more about our traffic safety efforts, please contact your local CHP office or visit www.chp.ca.gov.

P: What people need to do in case of a car accident in the freeway?

KR: If you are involved in a vehicle collision on the freeway, first attend to the medical needs of anyone involved. Call 911 if necessary, but remember that 911 is for emergencies only. When there are no injuries, move your vehicle out of traffic to the nearest place of safety. Notify the CHP or the police department of the city in which the collision occurred. Exchange driver license, vehicle registration, and insurance information with the other driver or drivers. Do Not Accept or Place Any Blame. Gather contact information from potential witnesses. Lastly, take a moment to write down details of the collision and remember.

P: What are the regulations in regards to car seat or boosters for kids?

KR: There are four steps to keep your child safe and protected.

  • Step 1: Rear facing infant seats - Babies must be rear facing until they are one years old AND 20 pounds.
  • Step 2: Forward facing seats (with a 5 point harness) - Children must be at least one year of age and 20 pounds. The child should remain in a 5 point harness until they reach the top weight or height limit allowed for the seat.
  • Step 3: Booster seats (high-back or backless) - Children under eight years of age OR under 4'9" in height. High back or boosters must be used when the vehicle does not have a head rest or if vehicle's seat back is lower than child's ear. The child must be used with lap and shoulder belts. Never use a booster seat with a lap belt only. It is recommended to use until child fits seat belt correctly as described below.
  • Step 4: Seat Belt - Children eight years of age OR 4'9" in height do not need to use a car seat. To confirm if a child over eight years old can safely ride in a seat belt alone, all of the following should occur: Child can sit with back against vehicle seat back, knees bend naturally over the edge of vehicle seat, lap belt fits low and snug across top of thighs, and shoulder belt crosses the collar-bone and center of chest.

P: How does someone become a CHP officer?

KR: To become a CHP Officer, the applicant must log onto the website:  www.chpcareers.com and complete an online application. Paper applications are no longer accepted. There are four basic qualifications to becoming a CHP Officer. 1. An applicant must be 21 years old when graduating from the CHP Academy. 2. An applicant must have a high school diploma or GED. 3. An applicant must have no felony convictions. 4. An applicant must be a U.S. citizen. 

P: What is the best recommendation for drivers during rain, snow or fog?

KR: Rain, sleet, snow, high winds, and fog will visit California roadways. Many collisions are caused by driving too fast for current weather conditions. The first and foremost tip: SLOW DOWN. It’s a simple matter of physics that your vehicle can’t stop as fast, or turn as accurately on wet or icy pavement.

Prepare in advance by leaving early, allowing yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. Stay aware of weather and road condition reports through your local media. If you’re heading to mountain-country bring chains and warm, waterproof clothing.

Make sure your gas tank is full. Check to see that your windshield wipers are in good condition. And don’t forget the law that requires you to have your headlights on anytime you have your windshield wipers on continuously. One of the other weather-related problems we have throughout California this time of year is FOG. If you encounter fog, again, make sure you SLOW DOWN. Drive with your lights on low beam. Don’t stop on a highway, unless it’s an emergency.

And keep a close watch on your speed. Remember to always wear your seat belt, don’t drink and drive, and reduce your speed when on slick pavement.


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