The Truth About Cars » Ohio The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:12:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Ohio Ford Medium-Duty Truck Production Moving To Ohio In 2015 Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:30:23 +0000 2015 Ford F-650

With the Econoline passing the torch to the Transit Connect at the end of this year, Ford is in the process of moving production of the F-650 and F-750 from Mexico to Ohio in time for the medium-duty trucks’ redesign for 2015.

Bloomberg reports the automaker is cutting ties with Navistar International in a joint venture based in Escobedo, Mexico to take full control of the two medium-duty trucks in their transfer to Avon Lake, Ohio, bringing the entire F-Series line — and the profits made up and down the chain — in-house as Ford’s president of the Americas Joe Hinrichs explains:

We’re doing this to bring the 650-750 production in-house so that we have complete design, manufacturing and engineering control over our F-series lineup. It’s so critical to be able to offer our commercial customers everything from an F-150 all the way to an F-750 and to know it’s built by Ford.

The relocation will preserve 1,600 jobs while honoring an agreement made between Ford and the United Auto Workers in 2011, with no added jobs or change in labor costs resulting from the move.

Hinrichs expects it will take less than the 13 weeks needed to transition the two F-150 plants from steel to aluminium-body production, with tooling from the Mexico plant already being put into place:

A lot of equipment has been going in on the fly. It’s not what we would classify as a new body shop, but the investment that’s being made largely is for equipment in the body shop and for tooling associated with building the 650 and 750.

The transition will occur in time for the F-650′s and F-750′s 2015 redesign, though the medium-duty trucks will remain steel-bodied.

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Dealer Groups Sue Tesla, State Agencies Over EV Maker’s Ohio Retail License Fri, 20 Dec 2013 11:00:15 +0000 Tesla retail store in Columbus, Ohio

Tesla retail store in Columbus, Ohio

Car dealers trying to head off Tesla Motors’ attempts to set up factory-direct showrooms in Ohio lost a round last month when a dealership licensing amendment that would have blocked Tesla from selling vehicles direct to retail customers in the state wasn’t voted upon in the state legislature. Now the dealers are trying the litigation route, suing Tesla and state agencies to have Tesla’s retail license voided. The defendants are Tesla, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The plaintiffs include Midwestern Auto Group in Dublin, Ohio, and Ricart Automotive Group, of Groveport, Ohio.

Earlier this month Tesla opened up its first Ohio store in a mall in Columbus, along with a service center in the same city, presumably to service the cars sold at the mall. The EV company says it will open a second store in Cincinnati by the end of the year. To bolster it’s case with the Ohio public, Tesla announced that the expansions will mean another 26 jobs and “add an initial $7 million in direct economic activity.”

James Chen, Tesla’s VP for regulatory affairs and the automaker’s associate general counsel, called the dealers’ actions “bullying”, using a current buzzword. “This is the same kind of bullying from the dealers we’ve faced in other states. The dealers, when they’re defeated in the court of public opinion, in the media and in the legislature, they then go to the courts.”

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Are Dodge Darts Illegal in Ohio? Man Arrested For Hidden Compartment That Revealed No Drugs Thu, 19 Dec 2013 12:28:55 +0000 2013-Dodge-Dart-Limited-seat-compartment

WKYC-TV reports that when Norman Gurley was pulled over for allegedly speeding in Lorain County, Ohio on Tuesday, State Highway Patrol officers arrested him for having a hidden compartment on his car, charged with a felony despite the fact that he was not violating drug, weapon or any other contraband laws.  Gurley thus became the first person charged under Ohio’s relatively new “hidden compartment” law intended, supposedly, to stop drug smuggling. The law states: “No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.” That may create a problem if you drive a Dodge Dart in Ohio.

Specifically, Gurley was was charged with violation of Sec. 2923.241, which states:

To enact section 2923.241 of the Revised Code to prohibit designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, prohibit operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, and prohibit a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.

Troopers allege to have noticed an “overwhelming smell” of raw marijuana, a claim which gave them probable cause to search the car, which revealed not a trace of marijuana nor any other controlled substance. They did, however, find some electrical wiring and after tracing it they found it led to the release for a hidden compartment. ”During the search, they noticed some components inside the vehicle that did not appear to be factory,” says Lt. Michael Combs with State Highway Patrol.  ”We figured it out and followed the wiring and we were able to get it open,” says Combs. The compartment, though, was empty.

“Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” said Combs, who contends that the compartment was large enough to carry several pounds of drugs and made allegations that Gurley was part of some kind of drug gang. ”We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” says Combs.

Gurley, who is from Michigan, was arraigned was released after posting bond. The car is being held as evidence.

Chrysler has started offering some of their cars, like the Dodge Dart, with a nice feature. The front passenger seat cushion flips forward to reveal a hidden storage compartment suitable for small valuables like cellphones, cameras, jewelry or a wallet. Just make sure, though, when you’re driving in Ohio, that neither you nor any of your passengers have ever thought of using it to stash some illegal drugs or maybe even some legal medical marijuana. It won’t necessarily take an “overpowering smell” of raw marijuana to find yourself charged with a felony and your car in an impound lot, maybe just enough for a well-trained K-9 to pick up its handler’s cues to “alert”.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS


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Distracted Driver Rams Motorcycle On Freeway, Faces No Charges Thu, 12 Sep 2013 19:45:35 +0000 state

It’s a video that simultaneously sends chills down the spine of every motorcyclist and confirms the worst fears of those who advocate for distracted-driving laws. A young man is flying down the right lane of a freeway at night in a V8-powered sedan. There is a couple riding a motorcycle at a normal speed in the middle of the lane. Without so much as touching the brakes, the young man hits the motorcycle, putting both of the riders in the hospital. After asking “Are you okay?” the driver starts checking his car for damage.

There’s no obvious malice in the video and the driver is stone-cold sober. It seems like an obvious case of texting and driving. When asked what caused the accident, the driver insists on referring questions to his attorney. But why he has an attorney isn’t immediately obvious, because he’s not being charged with anything.

What’s going on?

The image at the top of the article contains the clue: the driver was an on-duty patrolman. In the video obtained by CNN, you can see Ohio State Trooper Jacob Daymon ramming a motorcyle for no apparent reason. There are two obvious questions that arise after viewing the footage:

What was Trooper Daymon doing when he struck the motorcyclists? Was he texting? Chatting? Surfing the Internet? Most of us have seen troopers doing all of the above; your humble author was texting at a stoplight the other day when I realized the car pulling up behind me was an Ohio patrolman. I quickly hid my phone, but there was no reason to worry; the trooper was busy texting someone on his phone. Perhaps he wasn’t doing anything personal at all. It’s possible he was simply operating one of the myriad of in-car information systems that are part of the modern police car. If that’s what happened, then we need to ask: What makes us think that police officers have any more ability to safely operate a vehicle when looking away from the road than anyone else would? Did the in-car computers in Trooper Daymon’s car compel his attention to the point where he simply didn’t see the motorcycle approach for several seconds?

Why wasn’t Trooper Daymon charged? It’s a virtual certainty that a citizen in the same situation would face some sort of charge. At the very least, it’s reckless operation; at the worst, it’s an attempt at vehicular manslaughter. Particularly in rural Ohio, one might expect to have to face an arraignment and make bail in this situation. We keep hearing that distracted driving is equal to, or worse, than drunk driving. Imagine a drunk driver hitting a motorcycle under these conditions. He wouldn’t be sent home. Even a drunk cop might face discipline. What if there had been a fatality? What would have happened then?

Right now, there are more questions than answers. And as long as Greene County, Ohio implicitly supports Trooper Daymon’s actions, there probably always will be.

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Ohio Judge: “It is a scam that motorists can’t win.” Mon, 11 Mar 2013 19:37:02 +0000

“Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-Card Monty, (sic)” Ruehlman wrote, referring to a card game used by con artists.

And with that phrase, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman stopped a six-thousand-ticket-per-month operation.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the tiny village of Elmwood Place near Cincinnati, Ohio was partnered with speed-camera firm Optotraffic to write three tickets a month for every man, woman, and child residing within the municipal limits. Optotraffic received $41 of every $105 ticket. At the village boundaries, the speed limit drops from 35 to 25mph — a tactic used infamously by “the corruption capitol of Ohio”, New Rome. Unlike that now-defunct municipality, however, Elmwood Place doesn’t have a kangaroo court and outsized police force to do their dirty work. They simply sit back and let the private partnership with Optotraffic rake in over three hundred thousand dollars per month in fines.

No longer. Judge Ruehlman brought a halt to the proceedings with a permanent injunction. Elmwood Place plans to appeal, of course. This may be the start of a genuine legal dialogue about speed cameras in Ohio — or it may simply be a rare sensible and ethical act from the state’s judiciary. Let’s hope it’s the former.

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Ohio: Legislature Considers Ban On “Visual Guess” Speeding Tickets Tue, 15 Jun 2010 13:29:28 +0000

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.

The bill is designed to chastise the high court for its controversial June 3 ruling that held any police officer could be certified as an expert in visual speed estimation. Once certified, the word of such and officer would be taken as proof beyond a reasonable doubt of any speeding violation alleged. As a result, police could hang up their expensive radar and laser units as no longer needed (view decision). Driver’s rights groups, including the National Motorists Association, blasted the ruling.

“The NMA has been flooded with email traffic expressing alarm and concern about the implications of courts giving judicial notice to what is, at best, a questionable method of determining how fast a vehicle is going,” NMA Executive Director Gary Biller wrote.

Biller explained that there is no hard scientific evidence to back up the accuracy of the methods used by police and that the typical certification involves little more than a few hours of training. Members of the state Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle agreed that the legislation should be overturned.

“When Ohio motorists are pulled over for speeding there should be measurable proof rather than someone’s estimate,” Senate Minority Leader Cafaro said in a statement. “This legislation clarifies the Ohio Revised Code to require verifiable evidence to issue speeding tickets.”

The proposed measure would take re-write the law so that it is clear that the legislature never intended tickets to be issued based on no more than an officer’s best guess.

“No person shall be arrested, charged, or convicted of a violation of any provision of [the speeding statute] based on a peace officer’s unaided visual estimation of the speed of a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar,” Senate Bill 280 states.

The legislation referral to a committee for further consideration. A copy of the bill is available in a 10k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Senate Bill 280 (Ohio General Assembly, 6/10/2010)


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Shareholder Revolt Takes Out Three Traffic Camera Company Leaders Thu, 19 Nov 2009 14:44:05 +0000 (

Angry shareholders yesterday ousted the chairman of the board of a major traffic camera company and two of his closest allies. Redflex Chairman Chris Cooper and Directors Peter Lewinsky and Roger Sawley resigned to avoid an embarrassing vote after learning that a majority of shareholder proxies expressed no confidence in their continued leadership. The internal revolt followed closely upon the revolt of Ohio voters in the cities of Chillicothe and Heath.

Cooper and his wife will retain influence on Redflex as major shareholders in the company, a point the former chairman made while delivering a farewell address to meeting attendees.

“Without doubt, Redflex’s primary basis is as a business entity,” Cooper said. “Its activities are focused on generating a profitable bottom line for the company’s owners — its shareholders…. I intend personally to maintain a significant financial investment in the company and maintain my support for the company.”

Despite the ongoing recession, Redflex boasted of a 48 percent increase in revenue for the Australian company. As 87 percent of the company’s revenue stream derives from motorists in the United States, trouble with American ticketing programs can put the future of Redflex growth on the line. The company explained that the US public is increasingly not paying citations issued by the private Australian company.

“Collection rates in the US business remain an issue and this is a particular focus for the company,” CEO Graham Davie said.”[There has been] a reduction in collection rates in a number of jurisdictions, and particularly in the state of Arizona.”

Management of the Arizona program, which Davie said caused a loss of cash due to “allocation of poor quality deployments for the mobile speed vans” served as a catalyst for the shareholder action.

“Hunter Hall has concluded that, so far, the ‘Arizona statewide’ program has been an expensive failure,” revolt leader Jack Lowenstein wrote on behalf of his firm.

Later today, the top Redflex lobbyist, Jay Heiler, will defend the Arizona photo radar program in a debate with the grassroots group at a meeting of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.


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Busted! Redflex’s Redlight Camera Semi-Snuff Film Fri, 06 Feb 2009 19:18:12 +0000 Redflex is the Australian company that runs many if not most of America's redlight camera programs. Although I'm not a city resident, I attended two Redflex Q&A sessions in Canton, OH over the past two nights. About 20 people attended the first meeting. Around sixty showed-up at the second-- once people caught wind of what was at stake. Both meetings included city council members, city safety director Thomas Nesbitt and Hizzoner the Mayor, William Healy. Redflex Executive Vice President Aaron Rosenberg began the meeting with the video above. The clip was shown without warning. Hello and boom: a graphic and violent accident of the type Reflex's cameras are supposed to prevent. No emotional blackmail there, then.

Redflex is the Australian company that runs many if not most of America’s red-light camera programs. Although I’m not a city resident, I attended two Redflex Q&A sessions in Canton, OH over the past two nights. About twenty people attended the first meeting. Around sixty showed up at the final of four meetings—once people caught wind of what was at stake. All of the meetings included city council members, city safety director Thomas Nesbitt and Hizzoner the Mayor, William Healy. Redflex’s Executive Vice President Aaron Rosenberg began the first meeting with the video above. The clip was shown without warning. Hello and boom: a graphic and violent accident of the type Redflex’s cameras are supposed to prevent. No emotional blackmail there, then.

Rosenberg claimed the accident happened in Dayton, OH (it’s also featured on the company’s website). According to Rosenberg, the Chrysler PT Cruiser blows through the red in the curb lane doing 33 in a 35. This after the light had been red for 28.4 seconds.

As I slowly overcame the high-school-drivers’-ed-style shock of seeing a quick clip of carnage, I became increasingly angry and appalled. Why is it OK for a company selling safety equipment to use such blatant shock tactics to rally taxpayers to their for-profit cause? With aspiring teen drivers, you can understand the value of “tough love.” But while good profits may come from scare tactics, good governance does not.

Whose meeting is this anyway? By allowing Redflex to start the evening in this cynical, manipulative manner, Canton was revealing the truth: the fix was in. And then I started to dissect the accident. . . .

We were shown the brief clip of footage. Nothing more. No information on the cross-street speed limit. The Subaru was going plenty fast, but who knows if he was speeding?

The hapless pedestrian was strolling along across the street AFTER the cross-street light had changed to green. Doesn’t at least a small part of the blame rest on his decision to cross that street against signage? Cities and towns put up those Walk/Don’t Walk signals for a reason.

Also, did the pedestrian have a reasonable amount of time to cross?

I remember an article about an elderly woman getting ticketed for blocking traffic in a crosswalk. A TV crew investigated and found that a group of high school students couldn’t make it across the intersection before the light turned green at a dead run.

Furthermore, what exactly did Redflex’s camera do to prevent this accident? Ipso facto, nothing. Supposedly, Redflex’s systems reduce this kind of T-bone crash rate. But there’s no independent data on this for one simple reason: it’s not true.

In fact, red-light cameras are notorious for causing rear end collisions. While a spectacular crash like the one shown is particularly horrific, a large[r] number of rear-end collisions would lead to a large[r] numbers of whiplash cases. It’s a chronic injury that can literally ruin lives.

Last but not least, even if no T-boning accident had occurred, it looks like the SUV could have struck and maybe even killed the pedestrian.

To know the truth about this “instructive” incident, I would like to see the actual accident report and hear an analysis from a safety expert whose salary doesn’t depend on a red-light camera contract.

As those of you familiar with my screen name (SexCpotatoes) might imagine, I gave the city’s suits and the Redflex EVP a hard time, asking plenty of pointed questions. When pressed about Houston and Denver’s increased accident rate after red-light camera installation, Rosenberg responded “That was not our company.”

I asked city traffic engineer Dan Moeglin why his department hadn’t implemented any other safety measures: number boards that count down to red, synchronizing more traffic lights through town, or extending the yellow times. “I have all the traffic info about yellow light timing and such right here, I can go over them with you if you want, but these numbers give even me a headache.”

He also said that “yellow light duration is set by a formula taking into account speed limit, and width of the roadway.”

I briefly touched on the lawsuit against Redflex regarding the radar equipment they’d imported and distributed in violation of federal law. “That was an issue with a sticker not being properly placed or affixed,” Rosenberg demurred.

So a company devoted to catching motorists who must follow the letter of the law down to the last tenth of a second justifies breaking the law, perjuring themselves and falsifying certification documents as a clerical error. Nice.

I’m starting a petition to get the red-light camera issue placed on the ballot for the next general election. I leave it up to you, TTAC’s Best and Brightest, to decide whether using this crash footage to sell camera systems to greedy cities is morally reprehensible. Meanwhile, if you want to know why Canton is even entertaining this idea, I suggest you ignore the video and, as always, follow the money.

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