By on August 2, 2016

roadside traffic stop police (Ruin Raider/Flickr)

A roadside drug-testing pilot program signed into law at the end of June is unconstitutional and runs the risk of destroying lives, a motorist’s advocacy group says.

Michigan’s “Barbara J. and Thomas J. Swift Law” will see five counties selected for roadside saliva swab tests designed to identify drivers impaired by drugs. The one-year pilot, which became law on June 24, raised the ire of the National Motorists Association, which claims the law oversteps boundaries and could prove inaccurate. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2016

police stop roadside

Thousands of innocent Americans are going to jail due to faulty science and prosecutors who take the results of cheap (and error-prone) roadside drug testing equipment as gospel.

That’s the finding of a damning report published in the New York Times with the help of non-profit investigative journalism body ProPublica.

The Nixon-era chemical-testing technology used by police officers to analyze suspicious substances found in vehicles was never supposed to be the last word on a suspect’s guilt or innocence, but that’s what’s happening across the U.S. Backed into a corner, citizens faced with a “positive” test often accept a plea deal for a reduced sentence to get the nightmare over with faster. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2016

Money (Frankleleon/Flickr)

When a police cruiser lights up behind you, a driver usually fears two things: a costly speeding ticket, or a roadside breathalyzer test.

The driver probably isn’t worrying about having the contents of his or her bank account seized, followed by a long and possibly fruitless journey to recoup their lost cash, but that’s the power local law enforcement has over its citizens.

And technology is now making it easier to use that power more and more often. (Read More…)

By on May 13, 2016

2013-Tesla-Model-S-Rear

It was nice of Tesla founder Elon Musk to deliver a Model S P85D to the Los Angeles Police Department for testing last year, but they’re kindly going to return it. Possibly with a note under the wiper asking him to make it much cheaper.

The hyper-performing electric sedan took up residence with the LAPD (along with a BMW i3) last September, part of a research initiative that studied how EVs could fit into a future policing model.

With testing over and grades handed out, the LAPD can now say with confidence that the Model S isn’t their cup of tea. The speed was nice, but the price? This isn’t Dubai. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2016

2014-ford-fusion-energi-01

Call it the Ford Narc.

In the near future, police cruisers could detect drug labs just by sniffing the air as they drive down a street, CBC DFW reports (via Autoblog), all thanks to a device built by a team from the University of North Texas.

The highly sensitive mass spectrometer, calibrated in the clean air climes of Antarctica, was installed in the front seat of a Ford Fusion Energi sedan eight months ago. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2016

texting behind the wheel of death

As the state of New York debates new distracted driving legislation, an Israeli firm is putting the finishing touches on a “textalyzer” device that could rat out drivers for using their phone before a crash.

Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite developed the data-scanning device, according to Ars Technica, which could become the newest — and most controversial — law enforcement tool since the Taser.

Cellebrite, which sounds like a medication for over-sexed honors students, specializes in data extraction and decoding, and boasts of its 15,000-plus military and law enforcement customers on its website. The firm really knows its stuff — it’s generally believed that they helped the FBI hack into the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino/Apple controversy.

(Read More…)

By on April 8, 2016

chase

Two suspects in a non-violent Los Angeles burglary decided yesterday that if you’re being watched on TVs everywhere, you should at least entertain your audience.

The two men, who were pursued by police and watched from the air, drove their rental Ford Mustang convertible through rainy afternoon traffic and past excited crowds in what the L.A. Times has called “The most L.A. chase ever.”

(Read More…)

By on April 7, 2016

2017 Ford Police Interceptor Utility

It’s getting harder and harder to recognize cop cars in your rearview mirror.

First, Ford dropped the long-serving Crown Victoria police cruiser, whose telltale headlights could be spotted from the moon, and now the rooftop light bar is fading into history.

(Read More…)

By on March 11, 2016

Machine gun practice, Iraq

Sure, most (if not all) cop cars offer protection from boring ol’ pistols and AR-15s. But if you’re looking to drive into a hail of armor-piercing .30-caliber rifle or machine gun fire, Ford’s got your back.

The company announced yesterday that its Police Interceptor vehicles will now offer the highest level of ballistic protection among pursuit-rated vehicles.

Ford says the plates inserted inside the doors of its pursuit vehicles will meet the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) National Institute of Justice standard Type IV. The move is a bonus for police officers and delivers bragging rights to Ford, given that pursuit vehicles from other automakers only meet Type III specifications. Poseurs. (Read More…)

By on December 31, 2015

alcohol-bar-party-cocktail

It’s New Year’s Eve, which means I’m terrified of getting on the roads past 6 p.m. and many law enforcement agencies will be on the streets en masse to bust motorists who’ve had a tee many martoonies.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal traffic crashes involving alcohol spike in December around the holidays; on average, one person was killed in a fatal drunk driving crash every 57 minutes in 2014, according to the safety agency.

Which means, if you’re going to party, let’s find you a ride first. (Read More…)

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