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California Driver Ticketed After Unusual Aftermarket Addition

Ticketed for an unusual aftermarket addition.

We’ve all seen unusual aftermarket additions to cars. From fuzzy dice designed to be slung over a rear-view mirror post to air fresheners that clip to vents—don’t even get me started on the concept of “truck nuts”a—cars often become vehicles for personal expression as much as they become vehicles for personal movement. A California driver recently found out the hard way that that only goes so far when he was recently ticketed for driving with a visual obstruction.

The obstruction in question was a Starlink dish antenna mounted on the hood of his car.

For those not familiar with Starlink—and if you’re reading this on anything less than a fiber internet connection then you’ll likely want to be—Starlink is an internet service provider created by Tesla founder Elon Musk. It’s a satellite internet service that actually delivers, and not in the way that, say, HughesNet claims to. Starlink uses a small dish antenna to connect to a series of orbiting satellites to produce super-fast internet speeds—those currently involved in the beta testing portion of Starlink’s existence are told to expect between 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and 150 Mbps speeds, which is only slightly slower than the lowest Comcast speed. The key difference is that you don’t need to actually be near a Comcast cable system in order to get in on Starlink.

Starlink’s dish is comparatively small and can be set up almost anywhere, including houses in the middle of nowhere. That “almost anywhere” part was what brought one California driver afoul of the law, though, as that driver mounted the dish to the hood of his car.  It doesn’t help matters that the car in question was a Toyota Prius, which doesn’t exactly have much of a “hood” to begin with.

The motorist, pulled over by an actual ChiP—California Highway Patrol member—noted that the dish was a necessity for a business he was running from his car. Reasonable enough, but then the officer asked the driver if that blocked his vision at any point. The driver noted that it didn’t…unless he was making a right turn, which ostensibly makes up somewhere around half his total of turns. Thus, the driver was cited for a violation of section 26708(a)(2) of the California Vehicle Code.

It’s unclear whether the driver would have been in the clear had he instead mounted the dish to the roof, where there likely would have been no obstruction in the view. Still, the notion of having permanent high-speed internet access available everywhere you go has to be a delightful proposition. Better yet, being able to simply take the dish off the car at night and use it at home is a proposition that likely has some drooling in anticipation. I know there are a legion of parents out there eager to have something like that for those long car rides with the kids. Being able to stream radio with no huge internet bill wouldn’t hurt either; considering how many more stations the SiriusXM app has than the SiriusXM radio in a car does, easy car-based internet access would ramp up the offerings substantially.

by Steve Anderson – Content Creator at Half Full Marketing

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