Roundup: April 18, 2012

Each Wednesday, we’ll publish quick summaries of the articles from the last week on We’re doing this because these articles are often strongly connected to the issues that National Motorists Association members are interested in.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Washington Supreme Court Opens Access to Accident Reports
The public has a right to view accident reports made by police, Washington state’s highest court decided Thursday. In a 7-2 ruling, the justices ordered the Washington State Patrol to hand over all documents related to accidents on the Montlake Bridge involving bicycles. Michael W. Gendler had requested the material under the Public Records Act, but the state police refused to comply, fearing the papers would be used in a lawsuit against the state.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Feds Continue Push to Stop Drivers With Cell Phones
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared April to be “National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.” The former Illinois congressman is using the occasion to pressure states to adopt laws that allow police to issue traffic tickets to drivers who use a cell phone or send a text message behind the wheel. LaHood especially praised West Virginia earlier this month for becoming the thirty-sixth state to ban mobile phone use.

Monday, April 16, 2012
Illinois Court Blocks Forced Blood Draw from Motorists
An increasing number of states allow police to use any level of force needed to take blood from a motorist accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). In Ohio and Texas this procedure is explicitly authorized by statute. In Washington, the state Supreme Court decided to sanction the practice on its own authority. Last Tuesday, the Illinois Court of Appeals was unwilling to take that extreme step.

Sunday, April 15, 2012
New Mexico, France, UK: Speed Cameras Shot, Spraypainted, Swiped
A vigilante in Santa Fe, New Mexico shot a mobile speed camera van early Wednesday. The unattended Redflex van was parked on the side of Bishop’s Lodge Road, KOB-TV reported. Two rounds were fired into the windshield and another and into the flash on the roof. into the flash on the roof.

Friday, April 13, 2012
Missouri: Traffic Camera Company Invests in Attorney General
Arizona-based red light camera firm American Traffic Solutions (ATS) handed another $5000 check to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on March 29. Such donations are key because the Show Me State remains one of the last jurisdictions where automated ticketing machines are in use without the sanction of the legislature. That has put the systems in a precarious legal position.

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Chicago, Illinois Politicians Get An Earful On Speed Camera Plan
By The Expired Meter Based on constituent input, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speed camera ordinance is not very popular with Chicago, Illinois drivers. The Expired Meter spent the last few days calling all fifty ward community offices to get a feel for what Chicagoans were telling their city council members about the speed camera plan adopted in committee yesterday. Overall, different city wards seemed to be experiencing varied levels of response from their communities. According to many ward offices, they had not received any calls or emails on the controversial traffic enforcement plan.

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