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Dear Mahatma: Regarding high beams and drivers not switching to low, I suggest the problem is with pickups that have been raised and their headlights not adjusted accordingly. I came to this conclusion while driving my Mazda Miata for six years. Every car blinded me. Now I drive an F-150, and the only time I'm blinded is either by high beams or a raised truck. -- Tom

Dear Tom: We checked with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and found no study by that agency of raised pickups and the effect their headlights may have. We did learn that many common pickups evaluated by the institute show excessive glare in their headlights. But that appears common to many other kinds of vehicles, too.

We also looked at Arkansas Code Annotated 27-36-209, which says that headlamps "shall be located at a height measured from the center of the headlamp of not more than 54 inches nor less than 24 inches ..."

Naturally, we went into the garage and measured the headlamps of our own truck-- 38 inches high. Note that our truck is less than full size, not a giant honkin' thing.

From all this, we conclude your hypothesis is interesting. Other views are respectfully invited.

Dear Guru: Here's something that amazes me. The car dealer mercifully lowers your new car purchase price by the amount of any manufacturer rebates. You figure the sales tax on the remaining purchase price. At the revenue office, the nice lady explains that you've got it all wrong because, surprise, the taxable amount includes the rebates. -- Stunned

Dear Stunned: Another reason it may be wise to buy used. We once had our eye on a 1989 Dodge Ram truck with only 105,000 miles on the odometer and cold air. Too bad that She Who Must Be Obeyed was disinclined, failing to understand that every man needs a pickup at least once in his life. She eventually came around, saving our marriage.

Scott Hardin of the Department of Finance and Administration cleanly fielded this question. Sorry to say, Stunned, that you have been thrown out at first by a wide margin.

He explained that state law imposes sales tax on the gross receipts derived from the sale of a taxable good.

Hardin said that when a motor vehicle is sold, the total sum subject to sales tax is the same regardless of whether the customer pays the full sale price from his pocket or if a part of the price is paid by the manufacturer or dealer as an inducement.

As an example, the same happens anytime a manufacturer's coupon is used at the grocery store to buy a box of Snowballs, those cream-filled chocolate cakes covered with marshmallow and coconut. We chose this example because we saw some at the store the other day and have dreamt of them since.

Snowballs or Silverados, the principle is the same.

Vanity plate seen near Greenbrier: TAILG8R

Metro on 07/06/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Glare from on high not yet a thing


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Archived Comments

  • LR1955
    July 6, 2019 at 6:11 p.m.

    I had a 2004 Infiniti FX45, upscale sporty SUV. It had an electronic method to adjust the aim point (self-leveling) that could also be manually controlled. And under the hood, near the headlight module, there were old fashion adjustment screws to adjust the inner-outer aim points. Since 2012 I've had 2 VWs with headlights that track the steering wheel/front wheel direction.

  • NoUserName
    July 6, 2019 at 8:50 p.m.

    1. I gather a large percentage of people think cars/trucks are using high beams when, in fact, they are not. I've been flashed several times while driving an SUV with low beams on. Fact remains that higher sitting vehicles have lights that are aimed higher and people THINK those are high beams.
    2. As far as manufacturer's coupons, this is likely incorrect. Tax is due on 'rebates' because a rebate is technically considered cash back after a sale. Mail in rebate is an example. A coupon that is NOT a identified as a rebate but reduces the cost of a good at the point of purchase would NOT cause the good to be taxed at the higher non-coupon rate. My thought woule be to tell the dealer to put the 'rebate' in a 'discount' column on the bill of sale. Then tax would NOT be due on the 'rebated' price. Not sure a dealer would bite, though.

  • HM2
    July 6, 2019 at 9:09 p.m.


    July 6, 2019 at 9:32 p.m.

    I love that HM2 has no idea how hashtags work.