Vermonters whose driver’s licenses have been suspended for failure to pay fines and fees may find a reprieve this fall following the May passage of a bill by the state Legislature. The bill, H. 571, aims to alleviate some of the financial burden that outstanding traffic tickets and resulting license suspensions can pose, particularly for low-income residents in the rural state, where there are few public transit options and people rely on driving to get to work or school.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults—United States, 2014 report, which found that nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-60 are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The average hours of sleep Americans get each night vary across states and across geographic locations, the average hours of sleep Americans get each night also vary across racial and ethnic groups, age groups, employment statuses, levels of educational attainment, and relationship statuses.The implications of sleep deprivation extend beyond individual health and can impact public safety and the workforce.

Change is commonplace and expected in the auto industry. In recent years, however, talk has been not only about body styles but also about whether or not a body is needed at all—a human body, that is.

This Act states that if a driver's blood contains five nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter in whole blood (5 ng/mL) at the time of the offense or within a reasonable time thereafter, this fact gives rise to a permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence of one or more drugs. THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. DUI and DWAI are misdemeanors. Vehicular homicide is a class 3 felony if the driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Vehicular assault is a class 4 felony if the driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.

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In one of the last bills it passed in 2014, the Ohio General Assembly has placed new restrictions on local governments’ use of cameras to detect and enforce traffic violations. SB 342, signed into law in December, requires a police officer to be present at the location where a traffic camera is in operation. According to The Columbus Dispatch, this statutory change is expected to make the use of red-light and speed cameras financially infeasible for Ohio cities.
 
 

This act amends existing laws relating to vehicle licensure, fees, license plates, safety, inspection and other requirements to include a new class of vehicle known as an “autocycle.” An “autocycle” is defined as “a three-wheeled motor vehicle that has a steering wheel and seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride and is manufactured to comply with federal safety requirements for motorcycles.” Except as otherwise provided, an autocycle shall not be deemed to be a motorcycle.

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In the eastern Iowa town of Sioux City, police have installed red-light cameras at several intersections as well as speed cameras on Interstate 29. But when motorists in one neighboring state are caught on camera breaking a traffic law, Sioux City police may have a difficult time collecting the fine. HB 1122, passed this year by the South Dakota Legislature, restricts the state from sharing information with other states seeking driver’s license data to enforce civil penalties in traffic-camera cases.

The chief counsel for the Federal Transit Administration and transit agency officials from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Texas were on Capitol Hill this week for a hearing on what it will take to get transit systems back in a state of good repair as the nation faces an $86 billion backlog of critical repair needs that’s expected to grow at a rate of $2.5 billion annually without additional investment. I also have the usual roundup of news and links on MAP-21 reauthorization, the future of the Highway Trust Fund, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships and tolling, and state multi-modal strategies.

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As of mid-April, 12 U.S. states had general statutory bans on drivers’ use of handheld cellphones, including Illinois in the Midwest, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In each of these 12 states, this traffic violation is a primary offense: Law enforcement can stop a driver because of the cellphone use and issue a citation.
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A number of states use traffic cameras to catch speeders and red light runners. While supporters say cameras have the potential to aid law enforcement, improve safety and bring in revenues from ticketed violations, they are increasingly controversial. Critics say they invade privacy, serve to administer backdoor tax increases, benefit for-profit companies more than safety and actually cause accidents in some cases. These debates have created a hodgepodge of wildly different state and local statutes around the country and a variety of re-evaluations of the merits of cameras in traffic enforcement.

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