They look menacing on semitrucks’ wheels, like bullets or spikes poking out, but they aren’t

Q. On many semitrucks there are lug-nut covers in the shape of sharp bullets sticking far out from the truck. These seem dangerous. Why are they allowed?

– Robert C. Jinkens, Balboa Island

A. “They’re plastic,” said Jake Sanchez, a California Highway Patrol officer and spokesman who Honk goes to for questions about big rigs. “They look like metal. If they touch anything, they will break. It’s kind of like a costume jewelry sort of thing.

“They are not illegal,” the officer added.

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HONKIN’ UPDATE: Last April, Honk explained how the CHP’s Westminster station house was starting a program for men and women ages 55 and older who want to volunteer for four or more hours a week. Vacations, of course, are allowed.

Well, Officer Mitch Smith, who oversees the effort, comes with good tidings: His new crew undertook training and the five-strong group has now collectively volunteered for 1,000 hours. And with the CHP having problems filling its sworn-officer ranks, like other law-enforcement agencies, these volunteers are especially helpful.

“It adds so much,” Smith said. “It allows us to supplement and to provide better service to the public.”

The Westminster volunteers work the front desk, do paperwork and go out into the field to community events, such as for the CHP’s “Every 15 Minutes,” when high school students role-play to help stage a fake DUI collision with a car, victims and an arrestee to show the physical and emotional toll caused by intoxicated drivers.

The CHP has volunteers in other offices throughout the state. In some, one chore is doing in-office research on those suspected of using out-of-state plates when they should have California’s. The volunteers might also help direct traffic out on the streets after an accident.

The volunteers look sharp, in white shirts with CHP patches, a ball cap and dark trousers. They are not armed and do not provide enforcement.

Honk’s reach in the Southland is longer than Wilt Chamberlain’s was back in the day, so he wants to ensure everyone in Honkland can learn about volunteering if interested, and not just in Westminster.

Officer Smith has volunteered to try and see for you if a closer station house than Westminster offers the program. Applicants must have clean driving records. He can be reached at Mitchell.B.Smith@CHP.ca.gov or at 714-892-4426.

HONKIN’ UPDATE, TOO: A couple of weeks ago a reader asked about temporary license plates, including the QR code on them. Honk was able to get some more info about that code.

“The QR code was added to confirm the TLP (temporary license plate) was issued to the correct vehicle,” Ronald Ongtoaboc, a DMV spokesman, said in an email. “The QR code is accessible to anyone, including law enforcement, by using a scanning application that is native to most smart devices. … Car dealers log into a secured site to print out the TLPs.”

To ask Honk questions, reach him at honk@ocregister.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

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