Driving News Roundup: February 1, 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.

Illinois: Red-light cameras legal in Chicago, Illinois Appellate Court rules
Since 2010, a group of Chicago drivers has been quietly challenging the legality of Chicago’s red-light camera program in a class action lawsuit. But this past week, the plaintiffs’ case was dealt a major blow when the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court unanimously upheld a previous ruling by the Cook County Circuit Court, which dismissed the lawsuit in 2011.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stepping down
US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has announced that he will not serve a second term in President Obama’s Cabinet, but will stay on until a successor is confirmed. Of his and the Department of Transportation’s many initiatives, the one LaHood will perhaps be remembered for most is his efforts to reduce distracted driving, particularly the dangers of texting while driving.

Canada: Are police handing out traffic tickets to meet quotas?
Drivers in major cities complain about what they believe are quotas imposed to raise revenue for cash-strapped municipal governments. Police in Winnipeg issued 57,000 tickets in 2011. In 2012, city hall asked the police to increase their revenue from tickets by $1.4 million.

Colorado: 14 MPH speed limit? Aspen trying to get driver’s attention with odd sign
Council members say that several driver’s ignore the current 25 mph speed limit that runs down Main Street. Aspen is set to drop the speed limit even lower in an effort to slow down drivers, but they aren’t going to go with a round, and easily ignorable, number. Instead, they’ll adapt a 14 mph speed limit.

Washington: Bill would make it easier for cities to change speed limits
As it stands, cities have to jump through hoops and spend money on engineering studies before they can change speed limits on non-arterial roads. Many of the drivers who speed by are actually obeying the posted speed limit, but the city can’t lower the limit to make the street safer without spending money on an engineering study. Some worry the new law would create the opportunity for speed traps.

Pennsylvania: 9 judges charged with Philly traffic ticket fixing
Philadelphia ward leaders and Democratic City Committee associates, along with family and friends, regularly contacted the judges to seek help with traffic tickets. Judges would trade favors if the case wasn’t assigned to them and would either dismiss or reduce the ticket, helping people avoid steep fines and points on their licenses, authorities charged.

Tennessee: Ruling in Suck Creek case restrains state roadblocks; still, they start Sunday
They should have left home with time to spare. They didn’t, so they have to try to makeup for their poor planning by endangering everyone else. How can you “defeat” traffic cameras and roadblocks? Obey the law and you will be immune. That was easy.


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