NMA Article: Driving News Roundup: August 18, 2016
This is a regular feature on the NMA Blog, where we highlight some of the most interesting driving news stories of the week.
Florida: Hollywood mayor takes on Department of Transportation
A South Florida mayor is taking on the Florida Department of Transportation. Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober said the new express lanes that go through his city have turned Interstate 95 into a nightmare for residents and commuters.
Illinois: Multimillion ad blitz begins to ‘save’ state’s road fund
Who says all they do is fight in Springfield? One of the odder political coalitions to form here in a while—at least since Bruce Rauner became governor—has come together behind a ballot initiative designed to keep money in the state’s road fund from being diverted to nontransportation purposes. With a big financial assist from the construction industry, Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding today is launching the first wave of what’s expected to be a multimillion-dollar paid ad campaign.
New Jersey: Paterson budget plan could bring 250 layoffs, traffic ticket blitz
More than 250 municipal employees would be laid off and the city’s non-essential workers would be forced to take 12 unpaid furlough days, under a worst-case-scenario budget plan that the city government sent to the state on Monday. In addition to the personnel cuts, the plan calls for city police officers to issue an extra 30,000 traffic tickets per year — the equivalent of about 80 per day — to generate $3 million in new annual revenue.
Washington: One-Third of Drivers Drug-Positive Study Shows
Approximately one-third of drivers in Washington were drug-positive according to a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Washington law enforcement officers will join the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign aimed at encouraging everyone to get a safe ride, especially if alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medicine, or other drug use might be causing any impairment.
Texas: Cameras on Austin school buses led to 6,600 tickets in just 4 months
The first day of school for Austin students is around the corner, which means the district’s yellow school buses will soon be back on the road. So will the bus-mounted video cameras used to monitor whether drivers are being safe around them. The cameras begin recording when buses stop. Videos of the violators are reviewed by the Austin school district police, and $300 tickets are sent to the owners of the vehicles that are caught illegally passing the stopped bus.
New York: Court Declares Toll Diversion Illegal
Motorists will no longer be forced to pay road tolls to fund New York’s 525-mile network of barge canals thanks to a federal court ruling handed down last week. The American Trucking Associations sued the state, arguing that road users have paid over a billion dollars in tolls that enriched the New York State Canal System without any tangible benefits for the highway system. US District Court Judge Colleen McMahon agreed that the diversion of tolls for non-motoring purposes was unconstitutional.
New Jersey: Bill Might Trade Distracted Driving for Drowsy Driving
A bill targeting distracted driving in New Jersey has caused a bit of an uproar recently. The potential law would ban drivers from engaging in “any” activity unrelated to driving that might interfere with the safe operation of a vehicle. Some have argued that its language is so expansive that drinking a cup of coffee while driving would be banned, with violators subject to hundreds of dollars in fines.
How states use facial recognition to sniff out driver’s license fraud
Forty-three of the 50 states have used some form of the technology, with seven of those states adopting the system for driver’s licenses in the last three years. (The holdouts are California, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.) But while the scans are still limited, some worry those systems could be the first step toward something more troubling.
Northeast Oklahoma County residents hold rally against planned turnpike
Even though the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is moving forward with plans to build more than 20 miles of new toll roads in northeast Oklahoma County, residents in the area continue trying to find ways to stop what now seems inevitable. More than 100 local residents gathered Friday evening at Choctaw Park as protest organizers pleaded with them to get more involved — and to help push the resistance’s legal fund to $100,000.
Oregon Editorial: Repair the state’s roads and bridges first
Some advocates want Oregonians out of their cars. In their view, the state’s priority should be to discourage cars and promote alternatives, such as buses, trains, biking and walking. The state already has rules, policies and directives intended to reduce driving and make parking more challenging. Some want more. Is that what you want? Others call for a focus on social equity. In other words, their aim is to ensure everyone has access to affordable transportation options. We’d argue the state should focus first on ensuring what it has gets fixed. State roads and bridges need repairs. It’s a basic and fundamental investment in keeping Oregon competitive. So much of Oregon’s economy relies on being able to export goods, and the state can’t count on the federal government to fix the problems.
New York: Red-light cameras — stick a fork in them
It’s time to mark Albany’s red-light camera program as another boondoggle and junk it fast. Over a two-year period, the Sheehan Administration said we would make $3.9 million off of citations. We didn’t even come close. We will end up with zero out of 3.9 million. The spin now is that the Sheehan Administration is ultimately fine with this because cameras were always about safety and red-light cameras are improving safety. The vast majority of us know that’s baloney.
California: Lawmaker to float zero-emissions vehicle bill
A California lawmaker will introduce a bill requiring 15 percent of all vehicles sold in the state to be emissions-free by 2025, her spokeswoman said. Assemblywoman Autumn Burke says the legislation is needed to ensure that California’s current zero emissions vehicle target is met with actual vehicles and not just clean car credits, which environmentalists claim have flooded the market.
Terrorist-Fighting License Plate Readers Just Mobile Revenue Generators Cruising Poor Neighborhoods
We know what automatic license plate readers are good for: collecting massive amounts (billions of records) of plate/location data housed by private companies and accessed by law enforcement for indefinite periods of time. What we don’t know is how effective ALPRs are at fighting/investigating crime.
California: Pilot program would turn roads into sources of electricity
Imagine harnessing the power of millions of cars as they simply drive on the freeway using a sensor smaller than a quarter. It’s known as piezoelectric technology and the idea was introduced to state lawmakers in 2011 after learning these tiny sensors were being used to generate electricity in Israel, Italy and Japan.
What to know if you plan on fighting a ticket (NMA mention)
Your first instinct might be to just pay the fine and be done with it when you’re ticketed for a traffic violation. You’re not alone – Business Insider reports that only about 5 percent of motorists contest citations. Hiring a lawyer could end up costing you more than the fine, but you might want to consider fighting it out on your own.
Are red-light cameras rigged against laws of nature?
A Beaverton man who says he’s proven red-light cameras in Oregon, Washington and around the country are setting drivers up for tickets they can’t avoid is one step closer to getting the validation he’s been seeking. Swedish-born electronics expert Mats Jarlstrom has been on a mission for the last 3 years: He’s trying to prove that intersections with red-light cameras are rigged against the laws of nature and human drivers, especially those making right hand turns.
Michigan: New study will examine traffic stops in Grand Rapids
City leaders in Grand Rapids are trying to find ways improve relations between police and the community. On Tuesday details on a new study were unveiled. It will examine traffic stops and whether race plays a factor. Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky says he welcomes the study. “One of the good things about the method being used is they have found police departments that are problematic and they are not afraid to call them out. They are tried and true and we have a lot of confidence in what the study will show,” says Rahinsky.
Massachusetts: Boston Mayor Walsh will use new law to lower city’s default speed limit to 25 mph
Using authority granted under a law just signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh plans to work with the city council to lower the default speed limit in Boston from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.
Connecticut: Mileage Tax Study A Waste Of State Money
On the long list of bad ways to tax people, the state continues to consider one of the most odious: a mileage tax, where residents would be charged for every mile they drive. Both Democrats and Republicans have wisely panned the idea, saying such a tax would be dead on arrival if it were proposed in the legislature.
Citing Western Massachusetts drivers, Gov. Charlie Baker vetoes vehicle miles traveled tax pilot program
The Massachusetts Legislature sent Gov. Baker a road and bridge funding bill with a provision directing the administration to apply for federal funding to test a new tax on drivers based on miles traveled. Baker signed the bill on Wednesday, but, as expected, vetoed the pilot program.
To see more stories like the ones above, check out our NMA Driving News site. Each weekday we update the site with news stories that are interesting and/or informative for drivers like you.
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