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Dear Mahatma: Regarding the column about running out of gas. Illegal parking? -- Danny

Dear Danny: Thank you for writing about one of the topics in the alleged journalism that appeared in this space last week.

For those who came in late, one of our friendly readers had a frown on her face because she and many others had been held up in a traffic jam on the Interstate 30 bridge. The problem was a driver who'd run out of gas. Our reader saw a deputy sheriff pouring gas into the vehicle.

Could this gas-less driver have been ticketed for being a goober and creating inconvenience for others?

We searched the legal code. We also went looking for love in all the wrong places. Neither turned up anything useful.

Now, about illegal parking. We took a gander at Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-1302, "Stopping, standing or parking prohibited in specified places."

The list of prohibited parking places goes on and on and on, until it gets to this: "On the shoulders, the median, the ramps and all other highway rights-of-way along interstate or fully controlled access highways, except in designated parking areas, provided that stopping, standing, or parking that is brief in duration and is due to an emergency, a vehicle disablement, or to correct or avert an unsafe condition shall not be considered a violation of this section."

Phew. Quite a mouthful. But it appears to our feeble mind that running out of gas on the I-30 bridge constitutes an emergency. Or epic embarrassment.

Dear Mahatma: There's a long bridge in the Florida Keys. I believe it's the Seven Mile Bridge. When we crossed that 20 years ago, I remember seeing a sign indicated it was, indeed, illegal to run out of gas on the bridge. But that's the only place I've heard of such a provision. -- Fred

Dear Fred: We poked around and found out there is such a bridge, but can't determine if running out of gas there is illegal. Maybe our vast readership can help.

Let's give the last word to Little Rock Traffic Judge Vic Fleming, who admits to being on the bench for 23 years. Judge Fleming has many important and constructive things to do, but persists in reading this column. Must be his guilty pleasure.

He cannot recall a case in which a driver was charged with an offense based on running out of gas. He references the above statute, but in a different way. That is, a vehicle with no gas in a lane of traffic would, before it stops, go slow enough "to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic."

Actually, we get the last word.

In our experience in writing this column, we have learned the world of traffic can be summed up the way the Dominican right-hander Joaquin Andujar summed up America itself. That is, in one word:

You never know.

Vanity plate: HIHOWRU.

Metro on 01/25/2020


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