Google to test driverless cars

Google has moved into the next stage of its plan to put driverless cars on the roads. According to Reuters, the Mountain View, California company has begun testing the vehicles on city streets, a crucial step in deploying the cars. The image comes from a rendering of how the cars’ software views traffic in a city...

MADD At Odds Over DUI Proposal

April 21, 2014 Mothers Against Drunk Driving is objecting to an abstinence-based proposal that would let judges order twice-daily breath tests instead of ignition interlock devices for repeat DUI offenders. But the head of the National Sheriffs’ Association says the “24/7 Sobriety” model is a better way of keeping drunken drivers off the road for good. MADD National Director Jan Withers on Friday asked Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, to reject the plan, which was approved by a House committee last week and is known elsewhere as “24/7 Sobriety.” “MADD believes that amendments allowing for twice a day testing or 24/7 sobriety programs are okay, but these programs should never replace the use of ignition interlock for a convicted drunk driver,” Withers wrote. Instead, MADD wants Florida lawmakers to expand the use of the interlock devices, which keep vehicles from starting if a driver is drunk, to first-time offenders whose blood-alcohol content is above .08. Current state law requires the devices for second- and third-time offenders as well as for those with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or greater. In a letter to Weatherford, Withers pointed out that 17,224 Florida residents were convicted in 2012 for driving with suspended licenses that were revoked because of previous DUIs, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “MADD believes Florida needs … a new approach to handle persons arrested for drunk driving as license suspension alone is no longer practical,” Withers wrote. But on Thursday, Sheriff Mike Leidholt of Hughes County, S.D., wrote that he is “wholeheartedly in support” of the proposal (HB 7005), approved last...

Metro: Marijuana impairment rising among drivers

LAS VEGAS — Metro Police said they have a huge problem on their hands when it comes to people using marijuana and driving. During the last three years, Metro’s forensics lab screened 4,500 blood samples for marijuana with the bulk of those being impaired drivers. In Crystal Hill’s home, there are memories and pictures of her 18-year-old son Jesse. Jesse died January 1 while walking with his girlfriend. The two were near the family’s home when a car slammed into them. Court records show the driver, Christian Diaz, had seven times the legal amount of marijuana in his blood. “I had to file his first and last tax return yesterday. His brother doesn’t talk about him,” Crystal Hill said. “They’re twenty months apart in age. They were book ends. That was his hero.” Metro Police said marijuana impairment is a problem, and it’s getting worse. Metro said drug impairment, unlike alcohol impairment, isn’t easy to detect. Department statistics show if police tested each impaired driver involved in a fatal crash today, one in ten would likely test positive for marijuana. “If it continues on this path, in the next five or six years, we could see marijuana and other non-alcoholic drugs overtake our DUI problem with alcohol,” Sgt. Todd Raybuck of Metro’s Traffic Bureau said. “We have a short memory when it comes to these accidents, and, unfortunately, that short memory lasts a lifetime for the victims.” Metro said marijuana is dangerous because it slows down mental reactions and a driver’s judgment of time and distance. Statewide records from 2002 to 2012 show 45 percent of drivers who were impaired by drugs had...