Driving News Roundup: November 9, 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.

The era of license plate tracking
No matter how fast you drive, you can’t escape traffic cameras photographing your car’s license plates — and entering that information into a database that police can access anytime. Our growing reliance on mobile technology leaves a digital trail of crumbs, representing our interests, habits, purchases and even our comings and goings.

Florida: Supreme Court to decide red-light camera issue
The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether red-light cameras used prior to their approval by the Florida Legislature in 2010 were legal. Class action lawsuits were filed against the cameras and lower courts have made conflicting rulings about them. Millions of dollars are at stake for cities that started handing out fines before state approval.

California: Murrieta red-light camera ban passes
After a nearly two-year long effort by opponents of Murrieta’s red-light cameras, voters on Tuesday agreed to take the cameras down. The red-light camera ban, Measure N, was passed with 57 percent of approval, according to unofficial results from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. But the battle over red-light cameras may not be over.

Three more cities vote to ban red-light cameras
Tuesday proved to be another bad day for photo enforcement firms as they lost further ground at the ballot box. Questions on whether red-light cameras or speed cameras ought to be banned came before municipal voters in California, New Jersey, Texas and Washington state.

Study admits yellow times too short at intersections
A report by state transportation officials released last week tacitly admitted drivers are being shortchanged when the light at an intersection turns yellow. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) released its guidelines on how municipalities can best time their signals for safety. The net result is that most intersections would see yellows extended by roughly half-a-second if the recommendations were adopted. Signal timing has become a highly political issue due to lobbying by the National Motorists Association.

Iowa: Mystery speeding ticket: Does the camera lie?
An Oregon man who got a speeding ticket after his rental car was snapped by a traffic camera on Interstate 29 in Sioux City claims he was hundreds of miles away at the time and has witnesses and documents to prove it. His story and supporting documents seem credible, but city officials didn’t back down.

Ohio: I-Team confronts police about texting officer
Picture this, a cop appearing to text while driving, something drivers like you and I can’t do in the State of Ohio. Police and other first responders are exempt to this law, but many think strict policies should be in place as to when these workers should be using their cell phones. And while not a violation of law, some lawmakers say they believe everyone, including police, should use caution when driving and using cell phones.


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