SUVs Keep Rolling Despite California Ban

We all acknowledge that there are state laws we just know nothing about. We're not politicians! And, for the most part, we never know about these other laws, because they don't impact us. But, one little known California law could affect you, especially if you are one of the ever increasing numbers of large SUV owners.

Under this state law, cities may pass ordinances to prohibit vehicles weighing over 6,000 lbs on certain residential streets. While 6,000 lbs may have you imagining a semi, this weight limit actually includes the larger SUVs you may have come to love and admire. Just think of the Chevy Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Cadillac Escalade, and Toyota Land Cruiser. And, don't forget to add the "Governator's" beloved Hummer to the list, which clocks in at a whopping 8,600 lbs.

Well, the city of Santa Monica has jumped on the eco-bandwagon, recently adopting this law. They have banned vehicles over 3 tons on all residential streets, unless specifically allowed. Officially the law was instituted to minimize road wear from heavier vehicles and to protect pedestrians and smaller vehicles. But, it doesn't hurt that the law also reduces environmental harms. Pollution, anyone?

Yet, like fellow cities Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Pasadena, the law is rarely enforced. Signs clearly indicating the ban are regularly ignored by both drivers and law enforcement. Local officials often claim they don't realize that large SUVs break the 3-ton scale.

Considering that Santa Monica's high dollar homes house countless luxury "el grande" SUVs, officials are understandably wary of challenging residents' right to park and drive on their own city streets.

Supporters of the ban blame lax enforcement of the law and official "ignorance." SUVs have become the vehicle of choice for today's driver, including the soccer mom. In fact, federal and state tax write-offs encourage buyers to purchase larger luxury SUVs. And, it certainly does not hurt that these vehicles are also exempt from the federal gas-guzzler taxes because they are classified as trucks.

Considering that Santa Monica's high dollar homes house countless luxury "el grande" SUVs, officials are understandably wary of challenging residents' right to park and drive on their own city streets.

Santa Monica however is within its legal rights to strictly enforce the big SUV ban. But, at what cost? There is certain to be homeowner outrage. And, just where will these cars owners park their behemoths? With the law in place, the stage is clearly set for conflict. It's just a question of when the curtain will rise on the Escalade showdown.