Tag: laws

By on October 6, 2017

rowboat, Image: Wikimedia Commons

Some might quibble over where “the limit” should be when we’re talking drunk driving — 0.05, 0.08, 0.10 — but few responsible people would argue against the need for impaired driving legislation. Until smartphones and other distracting electronic accoutrements came along, boozy drivers were the leading cause of carnage on the roads.

Now, many of us our personal vehicle to drive to the lake, the seaside, or perhaps a nearby river, where our boat, be it large or small, awaits. Maybe it’s a canoe or kayak. Maybe — because cabin cruiser dollars are hard to come by — it’s an inflatable mattress or inner tube where you can use your feet for propulsion.

Well, if you reside north of the border and were thinking of popping a few beers and paddling about in your human-powered floatation device (after hearing Canada’s recent announcement that drunk driving laws would no longer apply to unmotorized boats), think again. Special interest groups have intervened, and that law will remain on the books.

Drunk paddling? There goes your Chevrolet. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

saudi driving

Saudi Arabia doesn’t have what one might call a “progressive mindset” toward women. The ultra-conservative country is, however, attempting to improve its global image by finally giving them the right to drive. Announced in a royal decree over state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington, Saudi Arabia says it will let drivers of the female persuasion use roadways in June of 2018.

Rights groups and Saudi activists have long campaigned for the overturn of the country’s driving ban; some women have even been arrested and jailed for defying the prohibition and taking the wheel. In 2014, one woman was detained for 73 days after two women crossed the border from the United Arab Emirates.

However, the fact that women can soon drive in Saudi Arabia doesn’t mean they will. Concerns remain that religious leaders and husbands will still attempt to forbid women from getting behind the wheel of an automobile. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2017

us-capitol, public domain

When the automobile came into its own, there wasn’t really a place for it. Roads had been reserved for foot traffic and horses for hundreds of years before the invention of the internal combustion engines. Pedestrian injuries were high until they were partitioned onto the sidewalk. Likewise, it was some time before the millions of horses were be rounded up, placed into a giant pit, and shot to death by 20th-century motorists.

However, the industry didn’t really take safety into account until Ralph Nader wrote Unsafe at Any Speed and holding automakers accountable for safety suddenly became fashionable — helping America pass the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966 and subsequent legislation. Granted, vehicular fatality rates still fell dramatically between 1925 and 1965, but the regulatory influence didn’t skyrocket until after Nader’s analysis of the industry.

With autonomous vehicles positioned to change the way we “drive,” the long-established and ever-growing rulebook may need revisions. In July, a collective of automakers, suppliers, engineers, and consumer groups, calling themselves the Coalition for Future Mobility issued a statement urging Congress to consider legislation it deemed “critical to the United States continuing to be a place of innovation and development for the life-saving technologies.” Fast forward to August, and there is already a bill on the table.  (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2017

vehicle-inspection

The Lone Star State may be doing away with annual state vehicle inspections soon. On Thursday, a 27-4 vote in the Texas Senate approved a bill that would eliminate mandatory inspections for passenger vehicles. Although Senate Bill 1588 doesn’t change anything for commercial trucks, they’ll still be required to undergo a yearly safety inspection, and automobiles residing in seventeen counties will also have to pass emission tests for local air-quality laws.

For the rest of the state, it would be open season. “This is a tax cut that Texans will feel,” claimed Senator Don Huffines, a Dallas-based Republican who approved the bill. “It will save Texans $130 million they’re now having to pay for a procedure that has proven to have no discernible safety benefit to drivers.”  (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2017

[Image: Jeffrey Smith/Flickr]

Canada’s oh-so-green federal government sure isn’t concerned about one form of air pollution — clouds of marijuana smoke. With the country’s cities already infused with the tell-tale odor of wacky tobaccy, legislation has been tabled to make possession of the drug legal, perhaps by as early as July 2018.

Great news for grass aficionados, but a troubling turn of events for road safety advocates. The jury’s out on whether Canada’s law would spark an uptick in drugged driving, but the proposed methods of testing — and convicting — weedy drivers has raised other concerns. One group has a problem with the Great Green North’s strategy to root out baked motorists. (Read More…)

By on September 22, 2016

Tesla Model X

After its two-year-long bid to gain a sales foothold in Michigan hit a brick wall, Tesla has filed a lawsuit against the state.

The suit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Michigan, targets governor Rick Snyder and other top officials, Reuters reports. (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2016

ford-autonomous-car-technology

The federal government doesn’t want to leave the issue of autonomous vehicle safety for states to decide, and may create new powers of oversight and approval for autonomous technology.

After president Barack Obama laid out his goals for the industry in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a set of voluntary guidelines to manufacturers today, asking them to prove their vehicles are safe before entering public roadways. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2016

breathalyzer DUI (KOMUnews/Flickr)

State lawmakers in Tennessee weren’t expecting to have the financial rug pulled out from under them when they passed a new DUI law earlier this year.

The law, which boosts penalties for younger drivers caught with alcohol in their bloodstream, is in violation of federal standards. Now, the state is scrambling to stop the loss of $60 million in federal road funding. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2016

coffee while driving (bluemini/Flickr)

New Jersey Democrats are pushing a wide-ranging distracted driving bill that would lead to harsh penalties for motorists, but does it mean cupholders will soon be outlawed in the Garden State?

The answer: probably not, but the bill would give law enforcement the blanket regulation they need to lay a charge for anything from eating behind the wheel to fixing your hair. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2016

Marijuana weed pot joint

Impairment tests used by authorities in U.S. states where marijuana use is legal in some form have no basis in science, and their results essentially mean nothing, a recent study concludes.

Commissioned by the American Automobile Association’s safety foundation, the study found that no blood test for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can accurately determine a driver’s level of impairment, the Associated Press reports.

The finding blows law enforcement’s main method of convicting high drivers into the weeds. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2016

tesla

If I had to think of a single car that would be least likely to demonstrate “road-rage” behavior with a man behind the wheel, I’d have to pick the Tesla Model S, at least until the Model X becomes widely available. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2016

lawsuit

Hoping to access and remotely take charge of a vehicle’s operating system via your laptop? Expect to shower with strange men in a place where the Wi-Fi sucks.

Life behind bars is the penalty proposed by two Michigan senators seeking to regulate the state’s connected and autonomous vehicle industry, Automotive News reports.

The bills introduced yesterday make it a super-duper felony to intentionally access a vehicle’s electronic system for the purpose of damaging it or gaining control of the vehicle. (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2016

roof rack (keone/Flickr)

Yeah, yeah, one day you’re going to put skis up there.

Automakers go to great lengths to make vehicles aerodynamic, adding grille shutters and painstakingly shaving off excess weight, but drivers are just blowing away the hard work with their roof racks, a new study reports (via CNET). (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2015

Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

Google. While breaking privacy laws seems to be their global sport of choice, they sure do stick to the letter of the law when their autonomous cars are perusing American roads.

Oddly, that’s a problem according to the New York Times, because the rest of us operate our automobiles in a legal gray area, bending the rules to our benefit when we know we won’t get caught.

(Read More…)

By on July 9, 2015

 

Passersby can now break a window to save a dog from dying inside a car on a hot day in Tennessee, according to Time.

That state added to its “Good Samaritan” law to include protecting pups from sweltering heat by breaking a window. According to the Humane Society, a car can heat up in 30 minutes to nearly 120 degrees inside if the outside temperature is 85 degrees.

According to the new law, people should reasonably search for the owner of the car or notify police before breaking the car’s window. Bark Post reports that 16 states have similar laws on the books.

 

(Read More…)

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