The Fox News affiliate in Boston reports that the New Hampshire Attorney General is reviewing “hundreds” of DUI arrests made by 64 police officers. The reason? They may not have really been certified to give the breathalyzer test that was used to support the arrests. All police officers in New Hampshire undergo a yearly certification to make sure they stay current on breathalyzer technology. This year the state used an online certification program which contained a computer glitch, giving officers credit for an answer even if they got it wrong. Thus, some officers were declared to have passed the re-certification when they really didn’t. Officials have identified more than 100 cases so far, and those motorists will get to re-do their cases.
Much has been written (and here and here) about the amnesty bill kicking around the California Legislature that would reduce the amount California motorist have to pay to reinstate their driver’s licenses following an unpaid traffic ticket. Apparently the amnesty provisions have been incorporated into the budget bill that Governor Brown is expected to sign in the coming days. If passed, it will go into effect October 1, 2015.
Kevin C Desouza posted an interesting piece on Salon yesterday, positing a surprising financial consequence to cities and counties when driverless cars go mainstream. Desouza, an associate dean for research and professor at Arizona State University’s College of Public Service & Community Solutions, suggests a staggering decrease in revenue from traffic tickets, parking tickets, DUIs and gasoline taxes as the increased use of autonomous vehicles reduces these traditional sources of local government income.
Illinois IIDs will be required for all DUI offenders if the Illinois Legislature has its way. House Bill 1377 will require all motorists convicted of DUI in the Prairie State to install an breath alcohol ignition interlock device in any vehicle they drive. The bill was passed unanimously by the Illinois House and Senate, and Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to sign it. If the Illinois IIDs bill becomes law, any motorist convicted of even a first offense DUI will be required to have a notation marked on their driver’s license requiring an IID to be installed on any car they drive–even a rental car.
A Tesla turn signal may solve the issue of fault for the inevitable driverless car accidents to come. Say you’re in an autonomous vehicle that makes a turn and collides with another autonomous vehicle. How can you tell which driver is “at fault” where both cars were being operated by a computer? We’ve already talked about how this issue may well disrupt the auto insurance industry, but given that Tesla Motors may soon be including semi-autonomous features in its vehicles, it is not surprise that they’ve come up with a possible solution. Dubbed the “Tesla turn signal,” it would requires a driver to depress a signal before the car would execute a turn or pass another vehicle, making sure that a motorist actually thinks about the maneuver before the car does it. This kind of driver involvement would supposedly allow the insurance industry to assign fault in the event of a collision.
The United States Department of Transportation will push driverless cars, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last week. He is expected to unveil the administration’s autonomous vehicle policy tomorrow in a speech in Silicon Valley. The DOT is expected to expedite the usually glacial federal rulemaking process for this technology and to remove barriers that typically slow innovation. “We want to ensure that industry sees DOT as an agency that is not only working to set the bar for safety in the marketplace but is leading in technologies that can play a role in enhancing safety,” Foxx said. By acknowledging that the feds will push driverless cars, Foxx recognized that their advent is closer than many realize. According to the Washington Post, the arrival of some of this technology is just months away, with General Motors planing to roll out models next year. On the West Coast, California’s DMV is set to finish operational rules for autonomous vehicles later this month.