By on March 31, 2012

Be careful if you take I84, one of Connecticut’s main drags. You could turn into collateral damage of a war between feuding State Police troops. There might be a pizza prize on your head. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2010

What do you call it when you roll through a stop sign with only a perfunctory tap on the brakes? Here in Oregon, the name “California stop” seems to have stuck. But it turns out that Oregon’s petty provincial put-down may just be a backhanded compliment. According to Gary Lauder, stop signs suck and should be replaced, if not ignored. And you know what? He’s got a hell of a point. Check out his recent presentation from the TED conference, and contemplate the possibilities of a post-stop sign world.

By on June 24, 2010


The Oregon Court of Appeals earlier this month threw out a commonly performed roadside sobriety test as unscientific. A divided three-judge panel found the accuracy of vertical gaze nystagmus in establishing drunkenness remained unproven in the eyes of the court.

(Read More…)

By on June 23, 2010

Fewer 16-year-olds are registering for driver’s licenses in Illinois, according to Chicago Breaking News… but why?

[In 2006] Illinois lawmakers doubled the number of hours — to 50 from 25 — of adult-supervised driving required before a driver with a learner’s permit could get a license. The next year, the number of 16-year-olds with licenses dropped by nearly 5 percent — to 74,675 from 78,250 — even though the state’s teen population increased.

Then, on Jan. 1, 2008, Illinois imposed a sweeping overhaul of teen driving laws, the heart of which tripled the length of time — to 9 months from 3 months — a teen driver must possess a learner’s permit before acquiring a license. That year, the number of 16-year-olds with licenses dropped again, this time by 17 percent, to 61,862.

The decrease is continuing. The Illinois secretary of state’s office estimates that fewer than 60,000 driver’s licenses were issued to 16-year-olds in 2009.

The usual economy and internet-based explanations are trotted out, but it seems that mandating supervised driving hours keeps kids out of cars. And though that’s good news for Illinois drivers, it’s certainly not a trend that the auto industry wants to see followed. After all, safety is a box on an option list, not something that reduces demand for cars, right? On the other hand, just because kids aren’t registering for driver’s licenses, doesn’t mean they’re not driving. Should we do away with mandatory supervision to drive the market for cars, or should supervised hours or a more thorough form of mandatory training be instituted? Or, should the legal driving age simply be moved up to 18? Better yet, forget the politics: do you let your 16 year-old drive, and if so how do you prepare them?

By on June 23, 2010

Motorist Paul Miller filed a federal lawsuit against Sanilac County, Michigan sheriff’s department after he was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) despite being completely sober. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit earlier this month ruled that his case should be tried by a jury.

(Read More…)

By on June 15, 2010

A bipartisan effort to overturn a controversial Ohio Supreme Court ruling garnered the support of twelve of the state Senate’s thirty-three members in just four days. Senators Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) and Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) jointly introduced legislation on Thursday that would forbid police from issuing speeding tickets based solely on the officer’s best speed guess.

(Read More…)

By on June 10, 2010

Red light cameras in San Mateo County, California received a one-two punch as an appellate court and a grand jury called into question the way red light cameras operate in the county. On Monday, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury released a report suggesting that the eight cities within the county that use photo enforcement are preoccupied with revenue. The report found that although cities claimed their sole interest was safety, officials failed to furnish reliable evidence to back up the assertion.

(Read More…)

By on June 9, 2010

Appellate courts in California are becoming increasingly upset at the conduct of cities and photo enforcement vendors. On May 21, a three-judge panel of the California Superior Court, Appellate Division, in Orange County tossed out a red light camera citation in the city of Santa Ana in a way that calls into question the legitimacy of the way red light camera trials are conducted statewide. Previously, a string of brief, unpublished decisions struck at illegal contracts, insufficient notice and other deficiencies. This time, however, the appellate division produced a ten-page ruling and certified it for publication, setting a precedent that applies to the county’s three million residents.

(Read More…)

By on June 3, 2010

Our Canadian pal carquestions took a look through NHTSA’s public complaint database, and found four examples of personal information that NHTSA should have redacted but didn’t. You kow, things like names, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses, VINs, and drivers license numbers. And he found those four after searching through “12 or 15″ of the 792,000 publicly-available NHTSA complaint cases. He’s calling on NHTSA to shut down public access to the database until it can get a handle on this problem. (The NHTSA listened.) (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2010

The long-simmering dispute over hybrid technology patents between Toyota and the Florida engineering firm Paice is rolling on, as Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that a judge from the U.S. International Trade Commission refused to dismiss the Paice suit. That suit builds on an earlier ruling requiring Toyota to pay Paice royalties on its Prius, Highlander Hybrid and RX400h sales (Toyota is challenging the amount of these royalties, ordered by a federal judge in Texas).

(Read More…)

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