Driving News Roundup: December 16, 2011

This is a weekly feature on the NMA Blog, running each Friday, where we highlight seven of the most interesting driving news stories of the week.

Maryland: Town could add speed cameras by broadening “school zones”
The Mount Airy Streets and Road Commission will recommend that the Town Council look into declaring certain areas as school zones so that speed cameras could potentially be added to roads that people frequently speed on.

Maryland: “Speed Trap State” may be state’s new motto
As Maryland adds speed cameras at a rapid and apparently unchecked rate, it risks annoying more than its populace. The state is gaining the same reputation as the shabby rural town that tickets unwary outsiders to finance the sheriff’s convention trip to Hawaii.

Arizona: Photo-enforcement money used to purchase 1,000 Taser guns
Questions are being raised about the purchase of 1,000 new-model Taser stun guns by the Arizona Department of Public Safety at the request of a procurement officer with ties to the firm.

Michigan: Governor OKs bill to end some drivers’ fees
Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that will eliminate some extra fees that are imposed on drivers for certain traffic offenses.

Studies may have overestimated cellphone crash risk
Increased risk of having a car crash attributed to cellphone use may have been overestimated in some past studies, a new analysis suggests.

9th Circuit Court says traffic stops aren’t arrests
Is a traffic stop an “arrest” for sentencing purposes in federal court? The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday in an en banc ruling said no, reversing itself and creating a circuit split.

Why CAFE changes could lead to larger cars, not smaller ones
A study by the University of Michigan shows that auto manufacturers could meet tougher fuel economy standards simply by increasing the size of the vehicles they sell. A “footprint-based” formula for calculating mileage targets was adopted when Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards were revised in 2007.

Bonus Stories:

Why the proposed car cellphone ban is wrong
Popular Mechanics editor Glenn Harlan Reynolds argues that the National Transportation Safety Board’s proposal that drivers should be banned from using portable electronic devices is a major stretch of the facts.

Florida: Gainesville City Commission votes down red-light cameras
The Gainsville City Commission unanimously voted down a five-year contract to install red-light cameras at some of the busiest intersections around the city, apparently flipping from earlier in the day, when it appeared the measure had enough support to pass.

California: Gardena ends its red-light camera program
Gardena officials have pulled the plug on the city’s flagging red-light camera program, which is costing more than it generates in revenue.


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