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Dear Mahatma: Is this legal? -- Ann

Dear Ann: Thank you for showing us a cellphone photo of a sedan with a rolled-up carpet in the back. One end was sticking out the left rear window. The other end was sticking out the right.

Is this legal? We are not a lawyer, although we did take a couple of press law classes in college, after which we were thoroughly confused. And remain so.

To know if this is legal, it would be best for a policeman to write the driver a ticket, for the driver to contest the ticket, and for a judge to make a ruling.

In any event, Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-104 comes to mind. It's an old favorite: "Careless and prohibited driving."

Turns out it's unlawful to operate any vehicle in such a careless manner as to evidence a failure to keep a proper lookout for other traffic, or to evidence a failure to maintain proper control.

Even better, and more specific, thou shalt not be "Driving a vehicle which has any part thereof or any object extended in such fashion as to endanger persons or property."

A smart judge -- our experience is that all judges dazzle with their brilliance -- would determine if that rug was sticking out far enough to constitute a danger to people or property.

Wait -- there's more!

See Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-1401: "Obstruction to driver's view or driving mechanism prohibited."

It says no one shall drive a vehicle "when it is so loaded ... as to obstruct the view of the driver to the front or sides of the vehicle so as to interfere with the driver's control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle."

Might the rug be sticking out so far that it would obstruct the driver's view of one or both of the sideview mirrors? Could be.

We'd be happy to hear from anyone in law enforcement, or one of those brilliant district or traffic judges, who has dealt with a similar circumstance.


Dear Mahatma: So much for all the money sunk into the Jacksonville stretch of U.S. 67-167. James Street can be well under water at the overpass. -- Not So Happy

Dear Happy: You know how we love to pepper with questions the Arkansas Department of Transportation. We got some answers from Mark Headley, chief engineer of District 6.

Has flooding been a problem here?

Headley said he's not aware of flooding at this location. Any flooding was likely due to unusually intense rain, and probably drained away relatively quickly.

If flooding is persistent, what will the department do? Address it, he said.

This section of the 67/167 project clocked in at how much?

The project to widen U.S. 67-167 between Main Street and Vandenberg Boulevard is estimated at $76.5 million.


Vanity plate seen at Dickey-Stephens Park: BIGDEAL. Must be the cleanup hitter.

Metro on 08/10/2019


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