War on Cars Watch for February 13, 2019

Welcome to the War on Cars Watch, a weekly blog to bring together all the stories that affect motorists with regards to street planning such as road diets, and traffic calming as well as programs such as Vision Zero and Complete Streets.

Please read this blog and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Since the Watch was on vacation the Holiday Season the dates for this blog are from February 6-12, 2019.

Here are some National News Headlines concerning the War on Cars:

Our friends at TheNewspaper.com posted this scathing story last week: NTSB Urges Government Agencies to Break the Law. TheCarConnection.com also posted their scathing article: NTSB recommends lowering drunk-driving threshold.

TheDrive.com along with other outlets posted a scathing indictment against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: NHTSA’s Flawed Autopilot Safety Study Unmasked.  We wonder what other NHTSA tests are flawed and should we be worried?

Greeley, Colorado editorialist Tim Jackson had this to say about the current situation:  When did driving become a problem that needs to be solved?

Get this—the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to scrap the requirement for new cars and trucks to install event data recorders. The reason—automakers are already doing it anyway, voluntarily. The NMA is opposed to vehicle “Black Boxes” because they also might be used to track motorists (a precursor perhaps to a vehicle miles traveled tax) in the future as the connected car technology becomes more sophisticated.

Good News/Bad News: TheVerge.com posted this last week: Traffic deaths rose, then fell, after three states legalized marijuana

City Lab had to push micromobility again. Made me so mad (Shelia Dunn) that I wrote last week’s Driving in America Blog to counter this idea that micromobility is inevitable:  Little-Vehicle-Topia: Micromobility and the Rest of Us

Consumer Reports also jumped on the scooters are unsafe bandwagon with this story: E-Scooter Ride-Share Industry Leaves Injuries and Angered Cities in its Path

National Public Radio did an interview recently with North Carolina Professor Frank Baumgartner, one of the authors of the 2018 comprehensive study on racial profiling.

Motherboard posted an expose type of article on predictive policing: Dozens of Cities Have Secretly Experimented with Predictive Policing Software

And here is a rather disturbing development out of the European Union. European Members of Parliament approve “Intelligent Speed Assistance” for cars – this means that cars would run with a device that would not allow them to go over a specific speed.

California—Additional Commentary from NMA Los Angeles Member Michael Jabbra (marked MJ)

The racial profiling issue in the Southland continues: Mayor Eric Garcetti orders Los Angeles PD to scale back vehicle stops amid concerns over black drivers being targeted

Ten miles of bike lanes and road diets are coming to Pomona after the city lands a $9 M grant.

MJ: If the people of Pomona don’t like this scheme, they can fight back by letting their local elected personnel know what they think. It worked in Los Angeles when Councilman “Bad Idea” Bonin was forced to back down after showing his constituents (including me) his contempt for us with “road diets” in his district.

Those LA Curbed folks must be smoking something to come up with a title like this: To Make Transit Work, does Los Angeles need to make Driving Harder?  Driving is hard enough…

MJ: Gee, thanks, LA Curbed. Driving is already hard enough. The real problem with mass transit in Los Angeles is the sprawl. Punishing drivers won’t solve that problem. It would be nice if urban planners would just leave us alone. Of course, if they did, they would have to find honest work. 

What is going on with the California DMV? Plagues with so many issues and now this:  Thousands of DMV customers never receive license renewals after paying.

District of Columbia

Expanding DC’s ‘no right turn on red’ could backfire, AAA says

Iowa

Little ‘ole University Heights is considering a ban on racial profiling.

Iowa Appeals Court Upholds Traffic Stop of Car That Looks Fast

Massachusetts

This is a curious kind of weird…because it seems this should be a no-brainer: Long delays in State Police crash probes are strikingly routine

New York

Despite all the efforts of the New York City Vision Zero program, the NY Post reported last week that traffic deaths nearly doubled in January compared to last year. A city spokesperson told the newspaper that the city DOT will soon release Vision Zero Borough Pedestrian Action Plans.

The NYC Police Department sent a letter to Google WAZE asking them to stop alerting drivers to where the police have set up DWI checkpoints. Google has said they probably won’t stop doing that.

Bike advocates are claiming that now that the L-Train Shutdown has been nixed, they still need the new bus and bike lanes that have already stopped the regular flow of traffic everywhere.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio testified in Albany concerning congestion pricing in his city and asked for hardship exemptions.

Oklahoma

The Tulsa Police Department called out a recent national study on pedestrian deaths.  They insist that the number was inflated and countered with their own statistics. More police department and public agencies need to stand up to the War on Cars Machine!

South Carolina

Due to the two-year newspaper investigation concerning civil asset forfeiture in the state, state lawmakers are now getting busy on a reform bill. Here are the rest of the stories from that investigation that were printed last week:

Tennessee

Nashville wants to lower its residential speed limits from 30 mph to 25 mph.

Texas

Another scooter story which needed to be done: Texas: Amid E-Scooter Safety Concerns, Austin Asks the Center for Disease Control or CDC to Investigate Injuries

Utah

Utah Lawmakers Proposal would expand legal E-Scooter Territory (SB139) – Is Utah going the other direction perhaps?

Washington

This story just makes us mad: Washington State: Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

This week’s Commentary from National Motorists Association Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker

The NTSB has joined the list of groups supporting for-profit ticketing of mostly safe drivers with overly-strict laws and even outright ticket quotas that are illegal in most places.

With more states legalizing marijuana, what is needed is a reliable test for when a person is actually under the influence enough to impair drivers. We don’t have this.

Europe’s idea for automatic speed limiters in cars to match posted limits would be a total disaster in most places in both Europe and North America. Far too many posted limits are artificially low, set well below the safest speeds of travel on main roads.

AAA in DC made one of the rare objections to DC’s incessant pursuit of more ticket revenue and more rules to satisfy the car-haters to make driving even more terrible in our nation’s capital. DC officials show no deference that visiting our capital should be made as pleasant as possible for visitors from all over the US and the world.

New York wants no interference for their hated “papers please” roadblocks that stop mostly safe drivers with no warrants and no probable cause. This is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court case that authorized them needs to be reversed.

Objections to governmental thefts by civil forfeiture from people never convicted or in some cases never even charged with a crime continue to grow with law changes being enacted in several states. Officials involved with civil forfeiture from people not convicted of a crime should be charged with larceny with resulting jail sentences if the officials are convicted.

Nashville, like many cities, seeks even more unrealistic speed limits for more speed traps for more revenue. They know in advance lower limits will not lower travel speeds.

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