Hide your phones

Hide your phones

Massachusetts police won a victory over drivers recently with passage of a law banning touching electronic devices while sitting in the driver’s seat. Police had been frustrated by their inability to write tickets for disallowed types of phone use. They mostly caught drivers who were stopped and so oblivious they couldn’t see the police officer […]

Numerology vs. safety

Numerology vs. safety

Anti-car activists in California released a report targeting the speed trap law. The speed trap law is much hated because it is effective. In other states city councilors can hand out signs and speed traps like candy to favored constituents. In California the law says speed limits on major urban streets can’t be below the […]

Excusing failure

Excusing failure

Another Vision Zero failure story comes out of Portland, Oregon. Five years into its ten year plan to eliminate traffic injuries, it looks like deaths are increasing. The city’s transportation director made an off-the-script admission: “A lot of it is out of our control.” When deaths go down, Vision Zero is working. When deaths go […]

Two-faced regulators

Two-faced regulators

I recently read Katherine Eban’s Bottle of Lies, an investigation into the generic drug industry. I found some familiar themes in the discord between de jure and de facto rules. The FDA has a reputation as a tough enforcer. Stories abound of petty bureaucrats showing their authority. Every step of the manufacturing process has to […]

War of words

War of words

I suppose it was a win-win situation. The police officer got to yell at somebody and I got to my destination sooner. But more importantly it was a warning about how police testify. As a favor to police unions Massachusetts does not follow national standards for temporary traffic control. When the bucket truck comes in […]

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