Driving News Roundup: December 27, 2013

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.

New Jersey: Meanest red-light cameras pumped out thousands of citations in 2013
We have found the meanest red light in New Jersey. The red-light camera at eastbound Springdale Road and Route 70 in Cherry Hill has snared more violators than any location in the state this year, with nearly 11,890 citations through October. At $85 per ticket, that adds up to just over $1 million in 10 months.

NHTSA wants ignition lockouts for first-time DUI offenders
There could be additional crackdowns on first-time drunk drivers if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets its way. The regulatory body wants all states to fit alcohol-detecting ignition interlocks the first time someone is charged with drunk driving in order to prevent them from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated again.

Florida: Investigators finally get short yellow lights fixed!
It took seven months from the time investigators first exposed Florida’s short yellow lights, but the majority of red-light camera intersections in the region have now been fixed. An early June memo from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) acknowledged that the state’s yellow light minimums, which had been reduced in recent years, didn’t allow many drivers enough time to make safe decisions at intersections.

Pennsylvania: All Philadelphia red-light cameras being replaced by new vendor
The Philadelphia Parking Authority is bringing in a new vendor to handle the red-light camera program in the city. It will be installing a new system — at the same intersections — from the ground up. Xerox State and Local Solutions is taking over from ATS, which has been the vendor since the program’s inception in 2005.

Cuba: Opens up sale of new cars for first time since 1959 revolution
Cuban citizens will be able to freely buy new and used cars for the very first time since the island country converted to communism in 1959. Previously, citizens were only able to buy and sell cars without government approval if they were built before the revolution, which accounts for the spectacular array of vintage American metal on the island.

Georgia: Town refunding speeding ticket fines
An east Georgia town is offering refunds on dozens of speeding tickets because of a technical glitch. The city of Harlem says it learned its police officers were basing traffic tickets on radar equipment that hadn’t been certified properly by the state.

Missouri: Take a hard look when considering red-light cameras
Make no mistake, red-light camera companies such as Redflex and American Traffic Solutions are private businesses out to maximize their profits, not necessarily to promote public safety. The reality is that the red-light camera companies now face a very uncertain financial future, not only because red-light camera use is facing all sorts of legitimate legal challenges, but because an increasing number of rigorous, independent studies cast serious doubt on their effectiveness.


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