It has been a rough month for drivers across the country. Abuses of power continue to run rampant while the public remains surprisingly apathetic. We’ve put together a list of the ten biggest injustices against motorists this month in hopes of encouraging citizens to speak out.
The list was compiled from items on our site and from www.thenewspaper.com. TheNewspaper.com is an excellent source of news on motorists issues and we encourage anyone who is interested in the politics of driving to subscribe to their news feed.
The city of Pendergrass, Georgia pulled in $558,020 in traffic fines despite only having 491 residents.
Police in Alexandria, Louisiana seized the car belonging to a motorist who had committed no crime. A pair of police officers ran the license plate on Ruby Wallace’s 1995 Honda Accord and found the department of motor vehicles (DMV) had listed it as canceled. Wallace was without her car for days until the DMV admitted their database was wrong. As fees mounted, neither the Alexandria Police nor the DMV would take responsibility for the mistake or pay the towing company the $430 it demanded before it would return her Honda.
Since January, one out of every 600 vehicles was double-billed on Texas toll roads. Instead of fixing the problem, the authorities were satisfied with only reducing the frequency of the error to one out of every 2000 drivers.
Officials in both Maryland and Virginia are planning to introduce legislation allowing cameras in so-called highway work zones that would issue automated tickets worth $500 in Virginia and $2000 in Maryland. Lawmakers are following the lead of Illinois which last year introduced $1000 freeway speed camera tickets that have generated significant revenue.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has agreed to consider lowering the maximum speed limit on a stretch of interstate highway that competes with a planned toll road. TxDOT’s agreement with the company collecting the tolls also ensures no improvements can be made to nearby roads unless the agency issues payment to the company with taxpayer funds.
A local television station has uncovered evidence that a notorious Georgia speed trap has been using traffic ticket quotas. WGCL-TV reports that DeKalb County Police officers are told during roll call that they must issue 65 citations a month and make 25 arrests.
New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram announced the filing of corruption charges against nearly half of the Jersey City’s municipal court judges for “fixing” tickets for their friends and family.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently ruled that police do not require a reason to stop a car registered in the name of someone with a suspended license. The court ruled that as long as a police officer makes no attempt to determine whether a spouse or other family member might be behind the wheel, he is free to pull over whoever happens to be driving.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals moved to boost revenue from traffic tickets by warning lower courts that they must collect the maximum possible amount in court costs from each defendant. As a result of the clarification, any motorist charged with, for example, both speeding and failure to signal must pay the $160.50 assessment for court costs twice — for a total of $321 — even though the motorist appeared only once in court.
An increasing number of police departments are allowing their officers draw blood samples from motorists under suspicion of a DUI/DWI. The officers have limited medical training and it’s the officer’s choice between a breathalyzer or a blood test.
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