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Old 07-14-2007, 02:04 PM   #1
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Is it Legal?

So when I read descriptions of hypermiling, most cite a few tactics like drafting trucks and EOC, and most of those also make a little claim that some tecniques may be illegal in certain areas. Does anyone know more about the legallities of hypermiling?

For instance, when I look at Basjoos' car, I immediately thought that would get pulled over all the time for looking different. I started making a boat tail, but making sure that the blinkers stay outside of it. I guess I have to hang the license plate somewhere also.

Any ideas where to find the legal information on something like that? I'd hate to get a ticket for trying these things out.

Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:10 PM   #2
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Tailgating to 'draft' is illegal.

Also, taking a vehicle out of gear while coasting down hills is illegal in most states. This also applies to turning the vehicle off, and coasting. Both constitute not being fully in control of the vehicle.

I do not draft, but I do coast. It would be very difficult to prove that anyone was coasting, or doing so with the engine off.

In the end, it really needs to reside with the responsibility of the driver to drive safely and prudently.
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Old 07-14-2007, 05:33 PM   #3
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With your boat tail. I think just some common sense should do. And really, if you do get pulled over and you explain that it is an expriment to save gas, I really don't think you would get a ticket. It's sorta like a trial and error method with the state troopers. I remember reading Basjoos' thread and thinking 'he will get pulled over pretty soon' and so he did. But the cops just told him he needed to get some lights back there and relocate the license plate and such. You'd have real bad luck if you would get a trooper that would book you for your efforts to save the planet.
And if you really want to know for sure in advance; why don't you go and visit a highway patrol station. I think they'd be pretty interested in the whole thing. Downside of that is that you can't say anymore that 'you weren't aware of that'
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Old 07-14-2007, 05:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy5150 View Post
Tailgating to 'draft' is illegal.

Also, taking a vehicle out of gear while coasting down hills is illegal in most states. This also applies to turning the vehicle off, and coasting. Both constitute not being fully in control of the vehicle.

I do not draft, but I do coast. It would be very difficult to prove that anyone was coasting, or doing so with the engine off.

In the end, it really needs to reside with the responsibility of the driver to drive safely and prudently.
I think the coasting without the engine thing is very much outdated from a time when cars weren't as reliable as they are now. Perhaps with the fuel situation being the way it is today the lawmakers will revisit this and make the neccessary changes. At up to 41 mph, my Prius may at times may be travelling with the engine off. When done responsibly-key word being responsibly-these techniques can be done safely. I still won't draft a semi any closer than the 2-second rule because it's just not worth it.
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:51 PM   #5
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Fuzzy5150 makes a good point. If you are properly coasting with your engine off, then it should be very hard for the people around you to tell this. Of course, if there is a cop behind you, then don't do it. Otherwise people will just think you are grannying your car (unless of course you are flying like a bat out of hell down a steep hill!)
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:52 PM   #6
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Oh, and living in New York, I would assume that you might have harsher laws than say Alabama or North Dakota. Just my uneducated guess...
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Old 07-14-2007, 08:41 PM   #7
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Don't draft Semi's, that stuff gives hypermiling a bad name. So many people I deal with equate hypermiling with drafting that it really does damage to the cause. Trucks don't like being tailgated like you and I don't like being tailgated.
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:56 PM   #8
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Legality really hasn't ever entered my mind. Wether that makes me dumb or no, I dunno, but like said above, I try to use common sense. I can point out things on all of my cars that are illegal, and I could easily change, but whats the fun in that. I do not have front tags on anything becuase I think they look stupid up there. My metro sure as hell wouldn't pass state inspection..lots more. But, whats more important? obeying the speed limit and traffic rules, or a few oddball car parts...
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by diamondlarry View Post
I think the coasting without the engine thing is very much outdated from a time when cars weren't as reliable as they are now. Perhaps with the fuel situation being the way it is today the lawmakers will revisit this and make the neccessary changes. At up to 41 mph, my Prius may at times may be travelling with the engine off. When done responsibly-key word being responsibly-these techniques can be done safely. I still won't draft a semi any closer than the 2-second rule because it's just not worth it.
No doubt the law seems outdated. Again, I think the bottom line is the use of common sense.

I'm not comfortable turning the engine off because of the additional steps necessary to manage the process, and how it takes my focus off the task of driving safely. However I don't at feel threatened by coasting. We travel between NE and Kansas City about once every 2 months to visit our daughters and grandkids. In NE Missouri on I29 there are some very long hills. I have never exceeded 70 mph coasting. It appears that the wind resistance and light weight of my car stops me from getting past that. Even on these long trips with lots of hills, coasting helps me maintain my overall average of 47+ with my ECHO.
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:52 AM   #10
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Here's what the statute is in Oregon with respect to drafting:
Quote:
ORS 811.485 Following Too Closely; penalty.


A person commits the offense of following too closely if the person does any of the following:

Drives a vehicle so as to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon, and condition of the highway.

Drives a truck, commercial bus or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district or upon a freeway within the corporate limits of a city and follows another truck, commercial bus or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle without, when conditions permit, leaving sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy the space without danger. This paragraph does not prevent a truck, commercial bus or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from overtaking and passing a vehicle or combination of vehicles.

Drives a vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district or upon a freeway within the corporate limits of a city in a caravan or motorcade whether or not towing another vehicle without operating the vehicle so as to leave sufficient space between vehicles to enable a vehicle to enter and occupy the space without danger.

This section does not apply in the case of a funeral procession. Except for the funeral lead vehicle, vehicles participating in a funeral procession shall follow the preceding vehicles as closely as is reasonable and safe.

The offense described in this section, following to closely, is a Class B violation.
Essentially it says nothing about drafting, and I have yet to find another statute that does. Most states are similar on this issue, leaving to the somewhat arbitrary discretion of the officer.

It is generally considered a safe distance if you go by the 2 second rule, but I doubt one will ever get stopped for cutting that down by as much as half. I feel that is too close to be safe, though according to the Oregon statute, it is not specifically in violation unless an officer deems it so.
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