NMA Article: Driving News Roundup: August 4, 2016
This is a regular feature on the NMA Blog, where we highlight some of the most interesting driving news stories of the week.
Red-light camera shutdowns prompt traffic safety debate (NMA)
Cities around the country that have pulled the plug on red-light cameras installed at intersections are placing their residents’ safety in jeopardy, a study released by a highway safety organization last week concluded. The National Motorists Association has challenged the conclusions as misleading, however, and faulted the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which conducted the research, for not releasing its raw data.
Climate Change Is Hell on Alaska’s Formerly Frozen Highways
For seven decades, the Alaska Highway has mesmerized adventure-seeking travelers. In one breathtaking stretch through the Yukon, glacier lakes and rivers snake through aspen forests and rugged mountains that climb into the clouds. In recent years, though, a new sight has been drawing motorists’ attention, too, one they can spot just a few feet from their cars’ tires. Bumps and cracks have scarred huge swathes of the road, with some fissures so deep a grown man can jump in and walk through them. Scientists say they’re the crystal-clear manifestation that permafrost — slabs of ice and sediment just beneath the Earth’s surface in colder climes — is thawing as global temperatures keep rising.
Minnesota: Taking A Look At Bridges 9 Years Later
Nine years ago today, the I–35 W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed. The disaster killed 13 people and injured more than a hundred while calling into question the infrastructure of other bridges. After the devastating bridge collapse of 2007, Minnesota began reviewing bridges across the state to see how safe the structures were.
No, the police can’t pull over drivers to give them gifts
Every so often, there are news stories about a police department that decided to pull drivers over to hand out gifts. The gifts have included Christmas presents, hundred-dollar bills and in the latest story, ice cream cones. The media loves these stories. But here’s the catch: A lot of these stops are unconstitutional. When the police pull over a car, that’s a Fourth Amendment “seizure” of the driver, any passengers, and everything inside.
CDC calls for earlier curfew for teen drivers
Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for teenagers, but a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling for earlier curfews for teen drivers. The CDC is recommending that states extend night time driving curfews to cover all drivers under 18 and make the curfews start closer to 9 p.m.
New York Fights To Save Vision Zero Law
Officials in New York City, New York will fight to save a key “Vision Zero” law that automatically shifts blame on motorists in the event of a collision with a pedestrian or bicyclist. The Queens County District Attorney will appeal a late June ruling by New York City Criminal Court Judge Gia L. Morris that the controversial statue violated due process rights.
Pennsylvania Study Finds Higher Speed Limits Yield Better Compliance
It is often said that raising speed limits serves as an invitation to drivers to hit the gas and exceed the limit by an even greater margin. That was not the case in a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) study released June 30. The report examined the effect of boosting the maximum legal speed on the Pennsylvania highways and toll roads to 70 MPH.
North Dakota sees increase in roadwork due to lower oil prices
The oil production slowdown is causing problems for the oil industry and has caused some states to cut their budgets. However, aside from being a good thing for the traveling public, North Dakota is seeing an increase in roadwork from the lower oil prices.
Mississippi: $30 million county road plan could make ‘noticeable difference’
A $30 million proactive plan from Jackson County could create a steady stream of revenue for new roads. The $30 million road plan will not fix every road to where it should be, but will create a noticeable difference, said Jackson County Administrator/Controller Mike Overton.
Mpls., St. Paul Traffic Stops Down Since Philando Castile’s Death
Since Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer, statistics show the state’s largest police departments are making fewer traffic stops. Minneapolis police made nearly 40 percent fewer traffic stops, in St. Paul there’s been nearly an 80 percent dip.
Wisconsin needs a higher gas tax
In 2011, Gov. Scott Walker and the state Legislature inherited two fiscal time bombs from former Gov. Jim Doyle. They’ve largely defused one. The other has become more volatile.
Lakeland, FL officials, police laud effectiveness of red-light cameras, despite scant evidence in review
An intensive review of the city’s red-light camera program provides little evidence the unflinching electronic eyes make Lakeland’s streets safer, but support in City Hall and police headquarters remains strong based on anecdote, experience and a steady stream of citations.
Speed limit to increase on three Idaho state highways
Starting Monday the speed limit on Highway 20 between Idaho Falls and Butte City will be increased from 65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour. The speed increase will also be applied to Idaho Highway 22, from the Idaho 33 junction to Dubois, and also for Idaho Highway 28, from Mudlake to Leadore.
Beyond #BlackLivesMatter: police reform must be bolstered by legal action
Something is missing from the debate over police reform. Though police killings of black men have sparked a nationwide movement to stop police violence, the police can fairly ask whether they deserve all of the blame. That’s not because current levels of police violence are warranted (they aren’t), or because policing is race neutral (it isn’t). It’s because the chief architects of American policing are not police departments; they’re courts.
Spending soars in Texas long-term highway plan
State highway spending is poised to hit record levels in the next decade, as voter-approved money kicks in to start construction on some of the Houston area’s most sought-after freeway projects.
NYPD’s enforcement of Vision Zero traffic initiative slammed in new report
A new report has slammed the Police Department’s enforcement under Vision Zero after an uptick traffic fatalities this year. Unfocused and ineffective policing is jeopardizing the fabric of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s traffic safety initiative, according to the report published Thursday from Transportation Alternatives.
Cash-Strapped Towns Are Un-Paving Roads They Can’t Afford to Fix
When Montpelier decided to rip up a pothole-riddled asphalt road and replace it with gravel in 2009, it didn’t see itself at the forefront of a growing trend in public works. It was simply responding to a citizen complaint.
Texas Appeals Court Restores Right To Vote On Camera Ban
The public has a right to outlaw the use of red-light cameras by referendum, the Texas Court of Appeals decided on Thursday. The ruling was a blow to American Traffic Solutions (ATS), which successfully used a lower court injunction to block the May 10, 2014 public vote on camera use that had been scheduled in the city of Cleveland.
IIHS Red-light cameras study questioned . . . again
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a report this week suggesting there’s new data proving red-light cameras (RLC) save lives and that cities that remove the cameras have higher intersection fatality rates. But 10Investigates examined the report from the pro-camera industry group and found there may have been significant cherry-picking of the data. The study’s author also wrote of the study’s “limitations,” which could significantly affect the results.
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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