Q: It seems to me that in the past couple of years more and more motorists in Santa Monica are driving with their bright lights on. For people with cataracts or other degraded vision, bright lights either behind them or ahead of them are about like driving with a blindfold on. Is there still a law on the books requiring drivers to dim their headlights when approaching other cars? If so, could our police enforce it?

A: All of the laws in the California Vehicle Code are enforceable by law enforcement officials, and the Santa Monica Police Department can stop motorists and issue citations for violating this section. California Vehicle Code section 24409(a) states that the vehicle operators must dim the high beams of their vehicle for oncoming traffic within 500 feet. Also, section 24409(b) of the California Vehicle Code states that vehicle operators must dim the high beams of their vehicle when traveling behind other vehicles within 300 feet. Newer vehicles are being stocked with halogen bulbs. The halogen bulbs project a blue tint that appears to be very bright, but the bulbs are legal and not considered high beams.

Q: Is there a curfew for minors in Santa Monica?

A: Section 4.08.370 of The Santa Monica Municipal Code establishes the guidelines for the Santa Monica curfew ordinance. It is unlawful for any minor to be present in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city during curfew hours. “Curfew hours” means the period from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. of the following day on Sunday through Thursday and from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. of the following day on Friday and Saturday.

No minor shall be in violation of Section 4.08.370(b) if the minor is:

1. Accompanied by his or her parent or parents, guardian or responsible adult;

2. On an errand at the direction of the minor’s parent or parents or guardian or responsible adult, without any detour or stop;

3. In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;

4. Engaged in an employment activity, or going to or returning home from an employment activity, without any detour or stop;

5. Involved in an emergency;

6. Directly proceeding or directly returning home from a public meeting or a place of public entertainment, such as a movie, play, sporting event, dance or school activity;

7. Attending an official school, religious or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by City Hall, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor, or going to or returning home from, without any detour or stop, an official school, religious or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by City Hall, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor;

8. Exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution;

9. Emancipated pursuant to law.

Beware of crooks posing as census workers

The U.S. Census Bureau utilizes a workforce of trained federal employees to conduct a variety of household and business surveys by telephone, in-person interviews, and through the mail. They do not wear uniforms, but they are provided with an ID badge.

The questions they should be asking are:

1. Complete name

2. Date of birth

3. Sex

4. Descent

5. Relationship to others in household

6. Type of dwelling

7. How many people in household

8. Phone number

Census employees will not ask for your Social Security number, your bank account information, or any other ID numbers. If you are contacted for any information other than the eight questions listed above, do not participate. It is not the U.S. Census Bureau. If you believe you have been contacted as part of a bogus or fraudulent activity falsely representing the Census Bureau, you should check for a valid census ID badge. All census workers must present an ID badge which contains: photograph of field representative, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. You may also call your regional office to verify that you are in a legitimate survey.

The Los Angeles Regional Office number is (800) 992-3529 or (818) 267-1700.

E-mail Census Scams:

• If you receive an e-mail purporting to be a census questionnaire, do not reply or click on any links within the e-mail.

• Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain code that could infect your computer.

• Forward the e-mail or Web site URL to the Census Bureau at ITSO.Fraud.Reporting@cnesus.gov.

• After you forward the e-mail to them, delete the message. You will not receive a confirmation e-mail after forwarding the information. However, the Census Bureau will investigate the information and notify you of its findings.

If you are not comfortable answering any of the questions, then don’t! You should not feel threatened or intimidated. If you have an incident that you want to report, contact the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491 or by dialing 911.

This column was prepared by Neighborhood Resource Officer Francisco Franco, Beat 8 (Pico Neighborhood). He can be reached at (424) 200-0688, or via e-mail at francisco.franco@smgov.net.