The Detroit Free Press reported this week that Michigan lawmakers are considering the approval of roadside saliva testing to help determine if someone is under the “influence” of pot.
The L.A. Times reported yesterday that the LAPD has known for months that officers had been disabling the antennas which provide audio for the in-car video cameras. The antennas pick up the feed from the microphones on the officers’ belts so that audio is recorded with the video up to several hundred yards from the vehicle, said Sgt. Dan Gomez, a department expert on the recording devices. The abuse seemed to have been concentrated in South Central Los Angeles, where approximately 80 cars had missing antennas in the South L.A. Patrol Division alone. Police Chief Charlie Beck (pictured), said he chose not to investigate which officers had removed the cameras, but merely to tell them not to do it again.
Thoughtful piece in today’s New York Times about the state of DUI-marijuana enforcement. Look for further pushes to establish “per se” marijuana levels at which driving is illegal.
The National Safety Council released its preliminary estimate of 2013 vehicle fatalities this week. The 35,200 figure represents an approximately three percent decrease over 2012 but a 1.5 percent increase over 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which also keeps track of fatalities, will release its 2013 statistics at the end of the year. Expect NHTSA’s numbers to be lower based on the way its data is collected. According to a Christian Science Monitor report today, the nonprofit NSC includes accidents on private property and deaths occurring up to a year after the accident. NHTSA, a part of the federal Department of Transportation, counts accidents on public roads only, and only those deaths which occur within 30 days of an accident.
Last night more than 250 people packed into the Bell Community Center for a hearing about the new Immigrant Driver’s License law to go into effect next year. State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and DMV officials, including Assistant Chief Counsel Brian Soublet, answered public questions about the new law. Some of the questions posed involved the proof DMV will require for an immigrant license, noting that in many cases folks have lost touch with anyone back home. Others were concerned that the driver’s licenses would be used to identify illegals for deportation. Senator Lara acknowledged that law enforcement officers who don’t want to follow the law was a “big problem.” Last night’s hearing was the second of two planned before DMV starts drafting the regulations required to implement the new law, which Mr. Soublet said he hoped would be completed by late spring. Then DMV will hold another set of public hearings to talk about those proposed rules. UPDATE: The L.A. Times posted an article on last night’s hearing, quoting the United Nation’s Children Fund for the statistic that up to 40% of births in the developing world are undocumented, and noted that the figure may be as high as 60% in some Mexican states.