Thursday, November 14, 2019

CHP, Sheriff's Office Upping the Enforcement Ante on Driving Around Livestock

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 10:04 AM

click to enlarge Cattle on Old Briceland Road will have to share their grazing ground with impatient travelers later this month. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • Cattle on Old Briceland Road will have to share their grazing ground with impatient travelers later this month.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and CHP are jointly “beefing up” (their words, not ours) enforcement around and awareness of driving on county roads with livestock crossings.

According to a release, both agencies “CHP have received numerous reports of livestock being struck by motorists” over the last year.

“As a rural county, several Humboldt County roads have easements granting the public passage through otherwise private lands; some of these lands being livestock pastures,” the release states.

“On county roads with easements, livestock have the right of way. While a fence is still needed to keep them on their property, it is not needed to keep them off the section of the road running through the property (often marked by cattle guards).
This does not apply to state highways, where a lawful fence is required, and livestock are not permitted to freely cross,” it continues.

One of the roads where this might occur is Old Briceland Road, which is receiving an upgrade to act as a detour for when the county starts repairs on Briceland Thorn Road, likely at the end of month.

As Marianne Odisio — who delivers mail in the area — says in this week’s JournalRough Road Ahead," Old Briceland Road runs through the working cattle ranch and this is calving season.
click to enlarge Calves from a previous year watching a vehicle pass along Old Briceland Road. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE ODISIO
  • Calves from a previous year watching a vehicle pass along Old Briceland Road.
"For the first few days of a calf's life, they are pretty clueless about vehicles," she said, adding that she’s also worried about the safety of domestic animals and wildlife in the area. "Sometimes ... a newborn calf will be standing on its wobbly little newborn legs in the middle of the road and you will have to slow down or stop until they get safely out of your way."

The release also notes that a driver can face hit and run charges for leaving the scene after striking livestock.

Read the full HCSO and CHP release below:


The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) are “beefing up” enforcement and awareness, working together to help prevent vehicle collisions involving livestock.

Over the past year, the Sheriff’s Office and CHP have received numerous reports of livestock being struck by motorists. While Humboldt County is not a “free-range” county, meaning livestock must be contained on private property with a lawful fence, there are some instances where you might find livestock on the road.

Did you know that some county roads run through private property? As a rural county, several Humboldt County roads have easements granting the public passage through otherwise private lands; some of these lands being livestock pastures. On county roads with easements, livestock have the right of way. While a fence is still needed to keep them on their property, it is not needed to keep them off the section of the road running through the property (often marked by cattle guards). This does not apply to state highways, where a lawful fence is required, and livestock are not permitted to freely cross.

What does this mean for motorists? You might encounter a cow or other livestock blocking a county road. Under California law, it is the driver’s responsibility to safely navigate any roadway, making it your responsibility to see the road hazard caused by livestock in the road and respond accordingly (Vehicle Code §22350).

Not only can your vehicle become heavily damaged in a collision with livestock, you could be on the hook legally. California Food and Agricultural Code §21855 says a person can be held financially responsible for the wrongful killing or slaughter of cattle, up to four times the value of the cattle. Additionally, if you hit livestock and flee the scene, you could be facing hit and run charges.

If you encounter livestock in the roadway, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol encourage drivers to do the following:

When navigating roadways with cattle guards, drivers should slow down and be prepared for any livestock that may be on the roadway or around any turn.
Drivers should observe all posted signs regarding Livestock Crossing or livestock on the roadway.

In areas where livestock are present, drivers should always use caution while operating motor vehicles, especially during times of darkness and inclement weather.

If livestock are blocking your passage, stop and wait for them to vacate the roadway or navigate around them if safely able to do so. For your safety, do not leave your vehicle in an attempt to move livestock off of the road.
If you accidentally strike a cow or other livestock with your vehicle, please contact the California Highway Patrol at 707-268-2000 or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

About The Author

Kimberly Wear

Bio:
Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

© 2019 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation