National Motorists Association

By on August 8, 2011

[Editor’s Note: This piece, by Eric Peters, has been republished from the National Motorist’s Association blog. It originally appeared at epautos.com.]

Big Brother’s doing a bit more than just watching you these days.

Remember the last time you got your driver’s license renewed? You may recall the procedure for taking your picture was a bit different than it used to be.

Instead of the usual “smile” you might have been told to do no such thing — very specifically. To be as expressionless as possible. And that the system seemed more “high-tech” than it used to be. Instead of receiving your new license on-site, it would be mailed to you in a week or so — from some unspecified “secure location,” perhaps.

You may have been told or seen signs or been given literature explaining that the new way of taking your picture is part of new security measures designed to make it harder for people to manufacture fake IDs (since a driver’s license is the de facto national ID in this country).

But they probably didn’t mention that the pictures — digitized images, actually — were to be downloaded into a new database that uses facial recognition software to “scan” for (are you surprised?) Terrorists — among other things.

Only it’s ordinary Americans who are being terrorized.

(Read More…)

By on July 27, 2011

Do we really need one?

Opinions vary widely. In recent years, there have been two legislative efforts to convert the ubiquitous state driver license into a national ID card, making it the essential “show us your papers” document in order to navigate in, around, and through our society.

At the other end of the spectrum, a current movement to do away with the driver license altogether may seem impractical, but it is gathering momentum in regions around the U.S.

Which should it be – a federally-mandated document that uniquely identifies its holder and is necessary to provide the right to drive, to fly, and to participate in various governmental programs, or an extraneous card that serves no useful purpose in a society where individuals have the right to travel without restrictions?

Let’s examine these two diametrically opposed positions:

(Read More…)

By on May 26, 2011

Editor’s Note: This piece, by John Carr, originally appeared at the National Motorists Association blog.

Wayne Crews recently posted an editorial on cost-benefit analysis and regulations. It’s worth a read.

In the 1970s the Carter administration prohibited speedometers from indicating speeds over 85 miles per hour. The idea was around before Carter, but his people implemented it.

Regulations require some justification. The justification was, people might not drive fast if they didn’t know how fast they were going. After some hand-waving and pulling numbers out of orifices it’s possible to fabricate a number of accidents and deaths per year prevented and call that the benefit of the regulation.

As part of Reagan’s regulatory reform the speedometer rule was scrapped. Rescinding a regulation requires some justification. The justification was that there was no real evidence that limiting indicated speed would reduce or had reduced driving speed.

An ineffective regulation is harmful because it imposes costs with no benefits.

(Read More…)

By on May 17, 2011

Most Americans depend heavily on their license to drive – for their jobs, their family obligations and their recreational travel.

Naturally, some of our driving needs take us out of state. And as is well-known, traffic enforcement tends to focus on out-of-state drivers – maybe because it is that much harder for drivers to successfully contest out-of-state tickets…?

Compounding this problem is the fact that out-of-state violations almost inevitably impact the home-state driver’s license, sometimes even resulting in suspensions. And if out-of-state tickets are hard to contest, then clearing up interstate licensing actions can be nearly impossible.

In the nanny state’s never-ending battle to completely eliminate all driving risk, and its corresponding effort to make sure that every bit of your traffic record is available to every enforcement agency in the land, several compacts have been set up between the states for the sharing of motorists’ driving offense information.

This might be a good thing, if all transportation departments had fair, clear, and consistent rules and procedures for how out-of-state violations should impact home-state license privileges – and those agencies took responsibility for treating motorists fairly when problems arise.

The reality, though, is that such situations lead to vicious circles where neither the bureaucracy of the ticketing state nor the home state is willing to step up and unilaterally correct problems. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2010

[This piece, by John Carr, was originally published by the National Motorists Association]

When complaints grow too loud, reporters ask public safety agencies for reassurance that traffic law enforcement really is all for the best.

Accused of running a speed trap, the sheriff explained his speed enforcement cut fatal accidents from three or four per year to zero. Police said right-angle collisions were down by half at intersections with red light cameras. The Department for Transport proudly reported that road injuries were down 30% since the introduction of speed cameras.

This is all compelling evidence.

This is all lies.

The government has unique access to safety data. We have to go digging for it if we’re allowed to see it at all. Out of the countless lies told by government to justify regulations or enforcement, these three are among the very few that were independently fact checked.

(Read More…)

By on August 5, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following was originally written by Jim Walker for the National Motorists Association blog, and has been republished with permission from the NMA.

I have worked closely with the Michigan State Police for several years in their pursuit of correcting as many Michigan posted speed limits to the correct 85th percentile speed level as possible. Yes, we have a very enlightened state police administration that wants to see posted limits set for safety, not revenue.

I have testified before Michigan legislative committees in support of the State Police to help explain the science involved, helped to nominate the key officers for a Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee Award which they won in 2006, and helped the police find areas of state trunk line routes (numbered highways) which should be re-surveyed because the posted limits were set far below the normal speeds of traffic.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2009


The Beacon News in Illinois has another story of ticket camera bureaucracy causing problems for motorists. Here’s an excerpt:

Unsure why the Kane County Circuit Clerk would send him anything in the mail, Ernie Bolen assumed he’d been summoned for jury duty.

Needless to say, a letter stating he owed $375 for speeding in an Interstate 88 construction zone came as a surprise to 43-year-old Bolen, who says he never saw a ticket or anything notifying him of a court appearance.

“I haven’t seen it,” the Montgomery man said of a citation. “I was like, what the heck is this.”

Court records show the ticket was generated by a tollway construction zone speed camera on May 5. A June 19 court date was scheduled. Bolen, who says he never received any notice of a court date, received a judgement against him and the fines were assessed.

(Read More…)

By on September 23, 2009

(courtesy southeastroads.com)

A recent news report in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, gives yet another example of a red light camera ticketing an innocent driver and then leaving it up to the accused motorist to prove the ticket was undeserved. Here’s a quick overview of what happened: Troy Carter, a driver with a Louisiana license plate, received a red light camera ticket in the mail from the city of Baton Rouge. The photo showed a Blue Mercury vehicle, which was completely different from the vehicle he owned—a white GMC Yukon XL. However, both his vehicle and the Mercury shared the same license plate number. The key was that Carter’s vehicle is registered in Louisiana with Louisiana plates while the Blue Mercury is registered in Texas and has a Texas license plate. The ticket should have gone to the owner of the Blue Mercury but instead Troy Carter ended up with completely undeserved ticket out of the blue.

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2009

According to the Chattanoogan.com, a recent traffic study performed on Signal Mountain roads revealed that more than 90 percent of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit. Can you guess what the city’s response was to this fact? If you guessed “let’s install speed cameras and ticket everybody,” then you’re absolutely right: “Signal Mountain Police Chief Boyd Veal, who presented the report to the council, said he believes the town should consider using traffic cameras mounted on trucks to catch speeders, as Chattanooga and Red Bank already do.” This is how speed cameras have spread across states. If a city hears that another city nearby is making a bunch of money after installing cameras, you can bet that cameras are going to be first on their list when a “speeding problem” shows up. Not everyone is on board though . . .

(Read More…)

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