NMA Driving News Weekly Roundup for May 18, 2018

In this week’s Driving News Roundup:

–US Supreme Court Upholds Ride Sharing Privacy—
–Close to 50,000 People in Waco, TX could be headed for jail due to non-payment of traffic fines—
–Truck Driver Shortage will affect all of us–
–TX AG says no more public funds can be used for toll roads—
–CAF Settlement shines light on NYCPD transparency–

Click on the color headline to read the full story.

NMA Driving News Stories of the Week

US Supreme Court Upholds Ride Sharing Privacy
Drivers of borrowed vehicles cannot be pulled over and searched without probable cause, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the opinion of the court that police may not randomly search rental cars simply because the drivers do not own the vehicle. “The court now holds that, as a general rule, someone in otherwise lawful possession and control of a rental car has a reasonable expectation of privacy in it even if the rental agreement does not list him or her as an authorized driver,” Justice Kennedy wrote. The high court took up the case of Terrence Byrd who was behind the wheel of a Ford Fusion rented from Budget. While traveling through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on September 17, 2014, Byrd caught the attention of state Trooper David Long, who was parked in the median of Interstate 81 running a speed trap. The officer noticed the Fusion was a rental and the driver’s seat had reclined to an “unusual degree.” So he ordered Byrd to pull over, and after checking Byrd’s paperwork (he was not listed on the rental agreement), the trooper decided he did not need permission to search the car. When the trooper did, he found heroin. The court was asked to rule whether the initial stop violated the Fourth Amendment.

Waco, Texas’ ticket troubles add to $16M in fines
Close to 50,000 people in Waco could be headed to jail tonight. The city has racked up a massive bill over the years because people have ignored demands to pay their tickets. One person is avoiding an arrest over twelve cents. All in all though, it’s added up to over $16 million. Waco’s Citizens on Patrol unit passes out tickets and walks parking lots in search of drivers breaking the rules. These ladies ticket people who illegally hold up handicap spots, and they issue around 150 citations a year. But this number is just a drop in the overflowing bucket the city is still waiting to collect on. “A lot of people, sad as it is, are not responsible citizens. And that tends to amount up over the years,” says Larry Holze, with the City of Waco. FOX44 has learned this number steadily rises year after year. Tons of tickets and fines are ignored and pile up over decades. Now a third of the city’s population faces a night in jail. “How big a problem is the city seeing with this? The numbers are around 46,000 outstanding warrants. It’s close to $16 million,” Holze says. To be exact, the city has 46,865 arrest warrants out – which total over $16 million in outstanding fines. 2010 Census counts only show 123,000 people living in the city limits.

How a ‘Crisis Level’ Truck Driver Shortage Could Impact Your Shopping Habits
Approximately 71% of all freight tonnage in the country is moved by truck, which equates to more than 10 billion tons each year, McNally said. “Those numbers are only projected to go up as the economy grows, the population grows, we buy more stuff,” he said. “There’s no Target or Walmart or Kroger or Wegmans or mall in America that has a rail spur pulling up in the back. Consumer goods are almost exclusively delivered by truck.” The industry needs to add almost 1 million new drivers by 2024 to keep up with demand, according to a recent ATA report. With the continued rapid growth of e-commerce, including 2-day shipping, the trucking industry will find itself with even more deliveries to make and an even wider variety of types of delivery to make, Balzer said.

Texas Attorney General Says No More Public Money for Toll Roads
Texans overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure four years ago raising $1 billion for transportation with a clear directive that none of the funds could be diverted for use by non-road projects such as bicycle paths or for toll roads. Attorney General Ken Paxton last week clarified that this state constitutional amendment, enacted with the support of 80 percent of voters, applies to projects the state until recently has been supporting. “The [Texas Transportation] Commission may not spend state highway funds received under Propositions 1 and 7 to fund any road for the use of which a toll is collected,” Paxton wrote. “Construing the term ‘toll road’ becomes more complicated, however, due to the realities of toll roads today.”

Civil Asset Forfeiture Settlement Shines Sunlight on Millions Seized by NYPD
Agreeing to share data on millions of dollars it has seized through civil forfeitures, the New York City Police Department reached a settlement Monday that brings transparency to a program shrouded in secrecy. The nonprofit advocacy group Bronx Defenders fought for nearly four years to wrest this information from the NYPD, spending two of those years in litigation under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. “Until today, the impact of the NYPD’s seizure of property and cash has only been seen and felt by the low-income people of color it routinely affects, like our clients in the Bronx,” the group’s legal director Adam Shoop said in a statement. “This settlement will change that,” he added. In 2016, the NYPD reported keeping $7.1 million in revenue from seizures, and the department did not report a figure the next year. Police estimated that amount would grow to $8.25 million and that the figure would hold for 2018.

Opinion and Commentary from around the Web

News Stories from around the Web

National News Watch

Auto Recall News

Automatic Traffic Enforcement and Surveillance

Driver’s License Watch

Driving in America

Infrastructure Watch

Vision Zero and Road Diet 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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