Study: De-funding the Police Seems to Reduce Traffic Stops At Least

As you’re undoubtedly aware, there has been a lot of pressure to de-fund the police this year following the highly publicized death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city became the epicenter of violent and peaceful protests demanding police departments be stripped of funding that has since spread across the rest of the United States. Some cities, including Minneapolis, have already agreed to cut their budgets or abolish departments entirely.

While most of the ramifications of these decisions would be off-topic for this particular forum, a study came out this week examining how on-road policing has been impacted. Unsurprisingly, the number of traffic stops in Minneapolis has declined immensely. Since May 25th, Bloomberg’s CityLab estimated the department had made 80 percent fewer stops each week.

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Traffic Stops Aren't The Same For All, Which Is Part of America's Problem

This past weekend I had an encounter with the police.

No, I wasn’t protesting the death of George Floyd. Instead, I was approximately 25 miles away from the area in Chicago where protests occurred, sitting in a Mercedes-AMG, surgical mask on, while a very polite police officer (also masked) wrote me up for violating the speed limit.

I’d gone to my favorite back road – Chicagoans, especially North Shore residents, know well the ravine along Sheridan Road – to test this AMG. I’d be heading home with some unexpected paperwork.

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Here Comes the Heat…

The sudden arrival of summer in this writer’s neck of the woods had two beneficial impacts. First, I’m able to work shirtless and, secondly, I can be assured that the harsh sun and 90-plus degree temps will scrub the rona from my car’s interior just by leaving it parked outside all day. Helps lower the Lysol budget.

Of course, summer can be all too brief, and sometimes a person doesn’t have all day to wait for ambient heat to melt the lipid outer layer of your average coronavirus. Ford has a solution that, while not great for the environment, will at least bring peace of mind to law enforcement officers.

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Driving Dystopia: License Plate Readers Are Becoming Increasingly Common

Policing a population is expensive. Law enforcement departments around the globe have long sought a way to tamp down costs or, more often, find better forms of supplemental revenue. Unfortunately, sending the SWAT team on a raid or hiring additional officers to patrol the highway for speeders costs money. But the price of surveillance technology continues to go down, encouraging agencies to tap into their rather robust capabilities — potentially at our expense.

China, the world leader in mass government surveillance, already has the ability to use its vast network of cameras to take over all manner of on-the-street policing. Electronic eyes are everywhere, often networked to facial recognition or plate identification technologies that enable authorities to mail you a ticket for speeding, jaywalking, or whatever else the patrolman failed to see you do in person. While some of the penalties stop at being publicly shamed via a national database or having your social credit score dropped (potentially barring you from some goods and services), these systems have also increased the number of finable offenses that make departments money.

While similar systems have been available in the United States, it seems the country’s penchant for liberty has drastically slowed their implementation. Yet it’s still happening, and there’s reason to suggest items like license plate readers and facial recognition software will soon become standard equipment for many (if not most) North American police departments.

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The French (Canadian) Connection: Cops Put Kibosh on Toyota-loving Theft Ring

A Grinch-like presence that haunted the driveways and dealerships of Eastern and Southern Ontario for much of the year has finally met the long arm of the law. Sadly for owners, a great number of mostly Toyota-built vehicles have already found new homes on the other side of the Atlantic.

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Electric Vehicle 'ICEing' Spreads to Germany

You’re likely familiar with the concept of “ICEing,” even if the term itself leaves you scratching that little dry spot on the top of your head. It’s when a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) is intentionally parked at an EV charging space it cannot use in order to make a statement.

Presumably, that statement is little more than “I don’t like electric cars,” though there may be a more complicated dogma afoot — perhaps involving the role EVs play within society and the issue of the environment. We don’t really know, since there’s not a designated ICEing spokesperson to ask.

However, there’s no real need of an official mouthpiece to tell us that the movement has maintained its momentum.

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Cops Hot on the Trail of Interstate Smut Merchants

Distracted driving is one the greatest scourges of our time, rivalling drunk driving as the roadgoing activity most likely to end in tragedy. Cell phones calls, texting, and cumbersome infotainment systems all contribute to a populace overwhelmed with distractions.

In light of this, the last thing any speeding driver needs is a massive roadside screen displaying a porno flick.

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The Fastest Cop Car is Not a Car

In September of last year, the Michigan State Police conducted their 2019 Model Year Police Vehicle Evaluations. The purpose of these tests is to provide objective performance data to the individual agencies who are making purchasing decisions for their divisions.

For the automakers, it’s an all-out race for pride in being the superior bad-guy chaser. Ford hands off the title from their own 2018 3.5-liter EcoBoost Police Interceptor AWD (Taurus) sedan to their 2019 Police Interceptor Utility 3.0L EcoBoost AWD Explorer SUV.

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UK Cops Look to Crack Down on Distracted Drive-Thru Payments, Among Other Things

As part of its push to eliminate the scourge of distracted driving, the UK has given the country’s notoriously rigid police force a new tool to help eliminate road deaths: the ability to levy $256 fines and six penalty points to motorists paying via Apple Pay at the drive-thru.

Thanks to new laws that went into effect this spring, the police, some of which take great pride in ridding the country of tools that fell off an electrician’s belt, now have the power to turn that late-night McDouble run into a costly nightmare.

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California City Passes Law Making It Illegal to Even Be Near a Street Race

Last week, San Jose became subject to borderline draconian street-racing laws after city council (unanimously) voted to pass legislation effectively making it illegal to even watch impromptu automotive exhibitions. However, “spectating” is loosely defined in the new law, as parties don’t have to know a race is going on to get into trouble.

Even milling around a car show before shenanigans break out is enough to earn someone a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

The new laws give police plenty of power to break up late-night car events, plus the ability to arrest whomever they want — creating a pretty good incentive to just stay home, rather than risk getting into trouble. It also feels like overkill, and it sets an ugly precedent for punishing Californians who aren’t actively contributing to a crime.

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Drunk Driver Fills Mouth With Axe Body Spray in Bid to Fool Police

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office had a run-in with a drunk driver over the weekend. While there’s typically nothing funny about catching someone driving under the influence, fate saw fit to throw us a bone in this instance, as the encounter led to comical shenanigans involving Axe body spray.

Apparently, the driver decided to fill his mouth with the substance in an attempt to fool an approaching deputy.

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Federal Appeals Court Confirms Your Right to Flip Off a Traffic Cop

Tell the truth — when driving by a police office operating a speed trap at the side of the road, have you ever been tempted to make a rude gesture? You know the one I’m talking about: the single digit, middle finger salute. A United States Court of Appeals has now confirmed judicially that it’s your right to do so, if you choose.

When Debra Cruise-Gulyas was pulled over for speeding in Taylor, Michigan by Officer Matthew Minard in 2017, she gave in to that very temptation. Well, not right away. After he stopped her, Officer Minard had apparently gave Cruise-Gulyas a bit of a break, citing her for a non-moving violation instead of speeding. Not mollified by the break she got, following the stop, as she drove away, Cruise decided to make a crude gesture directed at the police officer.

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Ford's Police Interceptor Utility Off the Hook As Brake Investigation Wraps Up

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s probe into reports of exhaust gasses leaking into the cabin of certain Ford Explorers continues, the company doesn’t have to worry about the brakes on its law enforcement variants anymore.

After launching an investigation into front brake hose failures — at the request of the Sacramento Police Department — in 2015, the NHTSA returned the verdict this week. Nothing inherently wrong with those front stoppers, it said. It seems the Sacramento PD really, really pushes its vehicles in pursuit training.

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Woman Refuses to Pull Over Because She's a Prius Driver

A Washington State Patrol trooper was confronted with occupational difficulties earlier this month while attempting to pull over a woman driving a Toyota Prius with expired tags. The woman, 42-year old Jamie Petrozzi, was headed southbound on I-5 through Marysville two Wednesdays ago when the trooper turned on his lights and attempted a traffic stop.

The driver made no attempt to stop on the highway and, instead, exited a mile later before finally stopping at an intersection. From here, the highway patrolman ordered her to pull over using his loudspeaker. Petrozzi declined to cooperate, forcing the trooper to approach the side of the car and instruct her to pull off the road. “I will not,” she said, according to the arrest report. “I drive a Prius. I am not pulling over there.”

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QOTD: The State of a Scarlet Letter?

Last week’s QOTD post about states and their respective license plates generated a few comments about a particular plate issued by the state of Ohio. In today’s question, we dive a little deeper and focus solely on this Ohio plate, which just happens to be more unique than every other license plate in use today.

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  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.
  • Jeff S Adam on Rare Classic Cars has a new purchase a 1968 LTD Brougham just over 9k original miles. He really finds some gems.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK8R-LhM1LM&ab_channel=RareClassicCars%26AutomotiveHistory
  • Jeff S @Lou_BC--Diamonds are not really rare DeBeers dominates the diamond market and created the market with advertising starting in the 1930s thru the 40s. Before that time diamonds were for the most part considered for the wealthy and diamond wedding rings were not that common. Go back 100 years and most women wore wedding bands made of gold, silver, or other metals. DeBeers dominating the diamond market also controls the supply of diamonds keeping the prices higher by restricting supply. Sound familiar? Oil companies have learned to restrict supply of oil as well.https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/diamond-de-beers-marketing-campaign
  • Statikboy So they named it after the worst cracker."Perhaps that’s why the autonomous dream appeals to so many - they’ve never experienced satisfaction, or even fun, whilst operating a motorcar.""This 2022 Mazda CX-30 Turbo, for example, can certainly handle the drudgery of the daily commute with aplomb but can make a detour on a twisty two-lane a bit more enjoyable."While the autonomous dream doesn't appeal to me at all, I think the reason that it does appeal to so many is because it theoretically has the potential to make the drudgery of the daily commute a bit more enjoyable.
  • Jeff S Arthur and I might be in the minority but we miss cars like this. We will never see cars like this again and it is what it is. I did like driving my mothers 72 Sedan Deville and her 84 Chrysler 5th Avenue with leather interior and Boise Dolby stereo along with some of the other luxury cars I drove from this era. At least I got to experience them and if I want more I can always read Corey's well written articles and watch Adam on Rare Classic Cars.