NMA Driving News Weekly Roundup for August 24, 2018

In this week’s Driving News Roundup:

  • Federal Reports Documents Nationwide Photo Enforcement Decline
  • States Ignore Congressional Demand for Photo Enforcement Transparency
  • Technology is proving viability of mileage-based user fees
  • AAA says ridesharing is actually more expensive than owning and operating a car

Click on the color headline to read the full story.

NMA Driving News Story of the Week

Federal Reports Documents Nationwide Photo Enforcement Decline
Most states resisted the new federal effort to increase transparency by releasing accident and revenue data related to the use of red-light cameras and speed cameras. Instead of producing “adequate data” as the law requires, states handed in surveys containing little information. Despite its limitations, the effort highlighted significant inaccuracies in existing automated enforcement program data. According to the state-submitted reports, 294 cities use red light cameras or speed cameras — a number closer to 334 after adding in the cities withheld from the reports submitted by California and Ohio transportation officials. This is a far lower figure than the commonly cited Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) count of 423 jurisdictions using cameras.

States Ignore Congressional Demand for Photo Enforcement Transparency
Several states are defying a congressional demand for transparency regarding the use of red-light cameras and speed cameras. The House and Senate in 2015 approved the FAST Act, a transportation funding measure that included a provision prohibiting the use of federal grants for automated ticketing equipment. The law also ordered the states with cameras to submit biennial reports containing “adequate data to measure the transparency and safety attributes” of these systems. A review of the state-level submissions showed few took the federal statute seriously. The first set of reports submitted earlier this year confirmed an even split in the country. Twenty-five states (and five US territories) do not use red-light cameras or photo radar compared to 25 states and one jurisdiction that do. In the latter group, Iowa was the most diligent in filing a 164 page report containing detailed statistics on the number of tickets issued, the number of crashes and the locations where the cameras were installed across each of the eight cities using photo enforcement.

Technology is proving viability of mileage-based user fee systems
Among the questions that have been raised by the I-95 test is whether this same reporting technology can be used for tolling purposes. That question remains unanswered as of now, but it is one of the areas being looked at. Bryer says that the Oregon program and now the I-95 project prove the technology works, so if states want to move away from fuel taxes to a mileage-based user fee structure, it’s possible. “Is it more complicated? Yes,” he answers. “But we don’t think this is any more complicated than phone companies tracking all the data for phone users every day. It’s easier than that. And technology will make it easier.” It also has the potential to allow states to easily implement congestion pricing, which some areas have already done as a way to ease traffic bottlenecks.

AAA study finds car ownership far cheaper than ride-hailing
For most, full-time Uber, Lyft use is more than twice the cost of owning.

Opinion and Commentary from around the Web

News Stories from around the Web

National News Watch

Auto Recall and Auto Safety News

Automatic Traffic Enforcement and Surveillance

Court Cases of Interest plus Police Reform/Corruption

Driver’s License Watch

Driving in America

Driving Tips

Tolls in America

Vision Zero Watch

The NMA Driving News Roundup is a regular feature on the NMA Blog, where we highlight some of the most interesting driving news stories of the week. If you have a story for Driving News, send the url via email to nma@motorists.org. Every Wednesday catch the Car of the Future Roundup blog post.

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