Auto Bits: Debunking myths about the law

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Based on inquiries from among the more than 4 million visitors who come to each month, here are the top myths about the law:

- Myth: You have to be over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

- Fact: In most states, it's illegal to drive a car or other motorized vehicles (motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, etc.) while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs (including prescription drugs). Many people get to this point before they are at the BAC limit, which is 0.08 percent in all states. That means you do not have to be at or above the legal limit to be charged with a DUI.

- Myth: An error on a traffic ticket voids the ticket.

- Fact: For minor errors, there are administrative procedures that courts can use to modify information entered on a traffic ticket.

- Myth: If a person is driving a car without a license and is injured in an accident, they can't recover damages if the accident isn't their fault.

- Fact: Whether or not a person is driving with a license won't affect their ability to recover damages if the other driver was at fault.

- Myth: Car insurance won't cover you if someone other than your spouse or a family member is driving your car.

- Fact: Most insurance policies cover the car owner in these circumstances. Check with your insurance provider to see if your policy includes this provision, and, if it doesn't, ask if you can add it.

-- ARA

The List

According to’s annual 400 Richest Americans list, only four people in the automotive industry made the list in 2009. Here they are:

- Jack Crawford Taylor and family (Enterprise Rent-A-Car): $7 billion

- Bruce Halle (Discount Tire): $2 billion,

- Thomas Friedkin (Houston Gulf States Toyota): $1.6 billion

- Norman Braman (Miami art, car dealerships): $1.2 billion

Did You Know

Gasoline prices have been shooting up ahead of the holiday season, averaging about $2.70 a gallon. Last year during the holiday season, gas prices averaged $1.86 a gallon.

Car Q&A

Question: I own a 2007 VW Passat wagon. If the car sits for five days the battery goes dead. The dealer has replaced the battery twice and said that this is normal and the car is meant to be driven daily. This means if I go away for a week the car will be dead and I will have to get a jump. Can this be true?

Answer: It’s time for another dealer or another car. There is something draining the battery when the car is sitting. We call it parasitic drain. All cars have some; 25 to 50 mili amps is normal. You need to go to a local shop that can simply connect a digital amp meter inline between the battery and battery cable. This will measure the amount of parasitic drain. There are also battery rundown protection devices that connect between the battery and battery cable and protect the battery from draining below a preset voltage. These devices can be found in any marine supply store.

-- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service