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How they track semis on the I-5

CHP uses an overhead Dustbuster

It lets the nearby truck weigh station know when a customer’s coming. - Image by Rick Geary
It lets the nearby truck weigh station know when a customer’s coming.

Dear Matt: Picture this. I’m driving home from L.A. on the 5, approaching San Onofre. I pass under what looks like an overhead street lamp, only instead of a lamp, there's what looks like a Dustbuster on the end...and it's pointed at ME! It's got a big, thick, electrical-lookin’ cable comin’ out of the back, so I know it’s got power. What is it? Should I cover the jewels with lead while racing by below it in my little metal truck? I have to drive to L.A. every weekend this summer, and my paranoia will only grow. I’m scared. Matt. Help. — Papercut, e-mailville

No need for us to picture this. The estimable Mr. Geary’s already taken care of that. Today marks Rick’s 20th anniversary as director of cinematography and special effects for Team Matthew Alice. Two decades of turning your aimless ponderings into clever visuals. To celebrate, the research elves pitched in and bought him a new set of felt pens and free emergency psychiatric care for the next ten years.

So now that we’ve got the picture, Papercut, you can uncover those jewels. It took a little snooping, but I think we’ve got the cuffs on the perp. According to the California Highway Patrol, the Big Dustbuster is a semi detector. A truck tracker. It lets the nearby truck weigh station know when a customer’s coming. Trucks are required to check in at weigh stations, and, according to the CHP, the overhead detector senses a signal from the semi and delivers it to the weigh station so they can make sure they stop. They don’t care about your little metal truck or the jewels. Just the big guys.

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It lets the nearby truck weigh station know when a customer’s coming. - Image by Rick Geary
It lets the nearby truck weigh station know when a customer’s coming.

Dear Matt: Picture this. I’m driving home from L.A. on the 5, approaching San Onofre. I pass under what looks like an overhead street lamp, only instead of a lamp, there's what looks like a Dustbuster on the end...and it's pointed at ME! It's got a big, thick, electrical-lookin’ cable comin’ out of the back, so I know it’s got power. What is it? Should I cover the jewels with lead while racing by below it in my little metal truck? I have to drive to L.A. every weekend this summer, and my paranoia will only grow. I’m scared. Matt. Help. — Papercut, e-mailville

No need for us to picture this. The estimable Mr. Geary’s already taken care of that. Today marks Rick’s 20th anniversary as director of cinematography and special effects for Team Matthew Alice. Two decades of turning your aimless ponderings into clever visuals. To celebrate, the research elves pitched in and bought him a new set of felt pens and free emergency psychiatric care for the next ten years.

So now that we’ve got the picture, Papercut, you can uncover those jewels. It took a little snooping, but I think we’ve got the cuffs on the perp. According to the California Highway Patrol, the Big Dustbuster is a semi detector. A truck tracker. It lets the nearby truck weigh station know when a customer’s coming. Trucks are required to check in at weigh stations, and, according to the CHP, the overhead detector senses a signal from the semi and delivers it to the weigh station so they can make sure they stop. They don’t care about your little metal truck or the jewels. Just the big guys.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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