Roundup: October 16, 2013

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, October 16, 2013
DC Cabbies Sue City Over GPS Spying
Taxi drivers in Washington, DC last week filed a lawsuit against the city over its decision to force the installation of GPS spying devices in all cabs. Through a series of proceedings that began in July 2012, the DC Taxicab Commission set rules for a “smart” taxi meter system. These new devices would record the identity of the driver, the time and mileage of each trip along with GPS coordinates, the amount of a fare charged and real-time location of the cab. Passengers would be identified automatically when paying by credit card. The data would be accessible to dispatchers and DC police.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Texas: Camera Company Uses False Threats To Extract Ticket Payment
American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is threatening Texas vehicle owners with drivers’ license suspensions if they fail to pay up when a red-light camera ticket is sent in the mail. Under state law, the company cannot make good on its threat. A red-light camera ticket fine is $75, or $100 if not paid within thirty days. To encourage payment, ATS includes a brochure with the citation that purports to describe additional consequences of not sending in a check immediately.

Monday, October 14, 2013
Virginia: Cops Spied On Motorists At Political Rallies
Documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia confirm that until earlier this year, the Virginia State Police used cameras to track motorists attending political events in 2008. Automated license plate readers (ALPR or ANPR in Europe) are used by law enforcement agencies throughout the country, ostensibly to fight crime by finding stolen cars. A March 18, 2009 state police memo also documents the use of the “Help Eliminate Auto Theft” (HEAT) camera to identify attendees at campaign events for then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Sunday, October 13, 2013
Maryland, France, Saudi Arabia, UK: Speed Cameras Attacked
In Smithsburg, Maryland, vigilantes set fire to a portable speed camera at 11:30pm on October 5. According to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, a burning tire was used to scorch the automated ticketing machine owned by Optotraffic positioned at 66 North Main Street.

Friday, October 11, 2013
Federal Court Allows Park Rangers To Make Arrests Outside Parks
The National Park Service has threatened to arrest visitors to monuments and national parks during the partial government shutdown that began October 1. On the last day before the shutdown took effect, the US Court of Appeals clarified that rangers can also arrest motorists outside of any national park or monument, even though they lack statutory authorization to do so.

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Texas: Federal Judge Scolds Cop For Bogus Left Lane Stop
A federal judge on Monday ruled that a Texas state trooper violated the law when he pulled over a motorist for driving too slowly in the fast lane. Trooper Thomas Ladd saw a white Ford pickup truck in the far left lane of Interstate 35 just outside Waco, Texas on March 6, 2012. The pickup, driven by Marcos Antonio Garcia, passed Trooper Ladd’s patrol car, but it did not get back into the right lane after the pass. Within 25 seconds of seeing the pickup, according to a dashcam video, Trooper Ladd decided to pull the pickup over. Judge Sam A. Lindsay concluded this had been an unlawful stop.

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