Driving News Roundup: November 30, 2012

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: Supreme Court strikes down Illinois law against filming cops
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the US Supreme Court has rejected an Illinois prosecutor’s appeal to allow enforcement of a law which would stop ordinary citizens from recording police officers as they do their jobs. Upon learning of the ruling, though, the legal director of the Illinois ACLU was “pleased” with the result.

Ohio: House bill targets mayor’s courts
After years of debate, Ohio lawmakers might be ready to take a bite out of small-town mayor’s courts. House Bill 523 would increase from 100 to more than 1,000 the minimum population required for a municipality to hold a mayor’s court. That change would eliminate nearly 30 percent of Ohio’s 318 courts. Ohio and Louisiana are the only states to still operate mayor’s courts, where local mayors or magistrates hear violations of local ordinances and state traffic laws.

New Jersey: Accident rate rises at intersections with red-light cameras, N.J. study shows
They were installed at dangerous intersections to reduce the number of crashes, but New Jersey’s controversial red-light cameras have actually seen an increase in collisions, according to a new state report. A New Jersey Department of Transportation analysis of two dozen intersections that have had the automated traffic cops for at least a year found that accidents — particularly rear-end crashes — have increased, and the collisions are more costly.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia judges could face discipline in Traffic Court probe
As many as 10 current or former Philadelphia judges could face state disciplinary proceedings following an investigative report on Philadelphia Traffic Court. After a full investigation, the board would either dismiss the complaint or file formal charges, to be tried publicly before another agency, the Court of Judicial Discipline.

Texas: More 75 MPH speed limit signs popping up in Brazos Valley
TxDOT is raising the speed limit to 75 miles-per-hour on some area roadways. This comes after the Texas Legislature passed a law allowing for raising the limit if speed studies determine it can be done safely. New signs are popping up across the region and drivers are still getting used to the changes.

Maryland: Legislative auditor faults Maryland speed camera program
Critics of the speed camera program in Maryland received a significant boost this week as an official investigation has documented their long-standing concerns. The General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Audits was asked to look at the books at the State Highway Administration (SHA), and problems with the state’s highway “work zone” speed cameras immediately stood out.

California: Murrieta – Court denies stay in red-light camera ban case
An appeals court has denied a move by a committee backed by red-light camera companies to stop Murrieta’s recently passed voter initiative banning the devices. The California Fourth District Court of Appeal on Thursday, Nov. 29, denied a motion by Safer Streets for Murrieta to stay Measure N, which voters approved in the Nov. 6 election.


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