Ask a Cop: Are 'suicide knobs' legal for your car?

Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Q: The staff at Firestone came up with a very good question. They had a customer who wanted a steering wheel knob put on their car and they were worried about installing it and wanted to know if it was legal in Indiana, and of course, they were trying to "stump" Mr. Ask a Cop!

A: For those of you who don't remember, these knobs are called "suicide knobs" and most people believe they are illegal. However, this claim is likely one of those "car myths" that has spread because of the name. The term "suicide" has a dangerous association to it, which probably makes people assume the knobs are illegal. In searching through each state's statutes, there were no laws in the 50 states banning the use of steering wheel knobs on privately owned cars. Some businesses may make their own rule on company cars or trucks. In fact, some states require the use of a steering aid for some handicapped individuals. My record still stands!

Q: Please help. I am kind of embarrassed, but I also did not want to "cry wolf." What guidelines would you suggest for calling 911? I called 911 the other night and I got a "smart" response from a dispatcher because I waited 30 minutes to report something I thought just "looked" suspicious. I assumed I did OK and gave a complete thorough description of the man after he broke into my neighbor's car. This made me think, how does "Joe Public" know when to and when not to call the police?

A: This is a very good question! My suggestion is that whenever in doubt, or when you get that suspicious "feeling," to call the police. I would rather see a proactive response from the public than a hesitant one. For example, if someone is standing in your neighbor's backyard at 3 o'clock in the morning, don't wait until he breaks into the shed or tries to steal their car, call right away and have the police on their way. Our 911 Dispatchers are very good at what they do, so stay on the phone with them and give continual updates on movements, descriptions and possibly involved vehicles or others.

Q: Unfortunately our family had to recently place our dad in a nursing home due to a sudden illness. Because of this he may no longer drive a car according to the doctor, so we sold his car. Regrettably, he just renewed the license plate in Jan. 7 for this year. Is the plate still valid? Do we need to return it?

A: If you sold his car and are not getting another, you don't need to worry about returning the license plate or registration, however, by all means remove it from the vehicle after it is sold. If you are interested in receiving an excise credit for any of the remaining period, take proof of selling the vehicle to any license branch. You will then be given an excise tax refund form to complete. After the BMV approves your request, a refund will be sent to your dad.

The $30 gas card sponsored by The DAV of Michigan City was won by Lauretta Hapke of La Porte. The correct answer to the riddle of what is at the beginning of eternity, the end of time, the beginning of every end, and the end of every place? Of course the answer is the letter "E"!

The sponsor for this week's riddle of course is my friends at Firestone here in Michigan City. The winner receives a $30 gas card.

Heather, Jody, Sheryl Ann, Rita, and Shanon were waiting for service and decided to guess the number of different brands of tires they sell at Firestone Tires. Heather guessed 21, Jody guessed 25, Shanon guessed 23, Rita guessed 20, and Sheryl Ann guessed 24. One was correct. Two were off by 2, one was off by 3, and one by 1. How many different tires do they sell at Firestone and who was right?

The 8th correct answer by phone or email at exactly 1 p.m. today wins!

To answer a question or ask one, contact Sgt. Chris Yagelski at 873-1461, Ext 1020, or email

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