Roundup: May 9, 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, May 09, 2012
US Traffic Fatalities Continue to Decline
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced last week that road fatalities in the United States are continuing their decline at a record-shattering pace. According to preliminary figures, the number killed on the nation’s highways in 2011 per 100 million miles driven has dropped to an all-time low of 1.09, which is a full 25 percent drop from just six years ago. The total number of people who died on US roads last year dropped by the same percentage to 32,310.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012
US Senate Transportation Bill Mandates Black Box, More Rules
US House and Senate negotiators are currently working out differences in the opposing transportation reauthorization bills passed by the respective chambers. In an alert sent to members yesterday, the National Motorists Association (NMA) raised an alarm over a Senate-endorsed provision mandating the installation of black box recording devices in all automobiles beginning with the 2015 model year.

Monday, May 07, 2012
Maryland Court Rules Against Parking Ticket Frisking
Police were wrong to frisk a motorist over a parking infraction, Maryland’s second highest court ruled last month. A three-judge panel considered case of Bruce Wayne Gilmore, who had backed into a parking spot at the 51 Club liquor store in Temple Hills on February 7, 2008.

Sunday, May 06, 2012
Maryland, France, Latvia, Saudi Arabia, UK: Speed Cameras Under Fire
Fifty drivers of speed camera vans in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia went on strike Saturday against the private company that runs the automated ticketing program, according to Dar Al Hayat. Redflex Traffic Systems has had the contract to issue tickets in Riyadh since 2002, but the locals believe the Australian firm has been forcing them to work under dangerous conditions for minimal wages. Employee Saad Hamoud complained that three bullets struck his “Saher” vehicle, but when management asked him about the incident, they only were interested in the extent of the damage to the radar equipment, not how he was affected. Saher employees went on a five-day strike in November over the company’s failure to protect them from angry motorists.

Friday, May 04, 2012
US Transportation Secretary Disavows Cell Phone Story
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is distancing himself from reports that he called for a federal law banning all cell phone use behind the wheel. The former Illinois congressman was in San Antonio, Texas speaking at a distracted driving summit. According to a widely cited Reuters report, “LaHood called on Thursday for a federal law to ban talking on a cell phone or texting while driving any type of vehicle on any road in the country.” Not so, said a spokesman for the department.

Thursday, May 03, 2012
Texas: Citizen Activists Target Red Light Camera Expenditures
League City, Texas is violating state law governing the use of proceeds from a red light camera program, according to a local activist who filed an official complaint yesterday. Under state law, a municipality may only use its photo ticketing profit to pay for “traffic safety programs.” League City appears to be using the revenue to create a slush fund for the local police department.

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