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NMA Alerts & E-Newsletters

NMA Colorado Alert: Support Ban on Red-Light and Speed Cameras

Posted on March 6th, 2015 in , , , | Comments Off

Colorado lawmakers are once again trying to ban red-light and speed cameras throughout the state.

House Bill 15-1098 repeals the authorization for the state, a county, a city or a municipality to use red-light cameras. It also repeals the authorization for the department of public safety to use speed cameras in work zones.

Colorado would join fifteen other states that have banned the use of automated enforcement if the current bill passes. Photo enforcement is beginning to lose ground in Colorado. Colorado Springs pulled the plug on its cameras in 2011 after concluding they did not improve safety. Littleton just announced the end of its program for the same reason.

Now is the time to end photo enforcement in Colorado once and for all. HB 15-1098 has already cleared one committee and is moving on to the House Appropriations Committee. We encourage you to contact the committee members as well as your House member to tell them to vote for HB 15-1098.

NMA Tennessee Alert: Support Bills to Ban Ticket Cameras Statewide

Posted on March 3rd, 2015 in , , , | Comments Off

Dear Tennessee Member,

Great news! The Tennessee General Assembly is set to take up the Tennessee Freedom From Traffic Cameras Act, which would ban the use of all traffic enforcement cameras throughout the state.

The House version is contained in House Bill 1372, and the Senate version is contained in Senate Bill 1128. The bills’ authors appear to have taken a page from the NMA as they enumerate a long list of objections to ticket cameras including lack of due-process, profit over safety, no positive identification of the driver, reliability issues and more.

The NMA wholeheartedly supports these bills and encourages you to do the same.

Each bill will be heard by its respective transportation committee. Please contact the committee members to ask them to vote for the Tennessee Freedom From Traffic Cameras Act. You can find a list of Senate committee members here and a list of House committee members here.

NMA Washington Alert: Stop Bill to Allow Use of Unmarked Police Cars

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 in , , | Comments Off

Washington House Bill 1951 is being promoted as a “clarification” bill, but in reality it would lift all restrictions from the use of unmarked cars by county and city law enforcement officers. Tickets issued by unmarked cars are a huge revenue source, and police agencies across the state don’t want to give that up. Unfortunately there are many in the legislature who are more inclined to listen to the law enforcement lobby than to common sense.

Aside from the revenue, public safety is also a concern. Police vehicle marking requirements were enacted so drivers would know they were being stopped by a real police officer and not an impersonator. There are documented cases in Washington of police impersonators who have robbed, raped and murdered unsuspecting motorists.

HB 1951 is gaining momentum and may receive a vote in the full House shortly. Now is the time to stop it. We encourage you to contact your Representatives and ask them to vote against HB 1951.

For more information, check out this website from Washington NMA member Kevin Schmadeka, who has been leading the charge against HB 1951.

NMA E-Newsletter #320: The Real Consequences of Real ID

Posted on March 1st, 2015 in , , , , , | Comments Off

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The Transportation Security Authority (TSA) recently announced that by next year all domestic airline passengers will need to have either a traditional passport or a government-issued ID compliant with Real ID standards to board a plane. The new rule could take effect as early as January 2016. At that time, standard state-issued driver’s licenses will no longer allow access to domestic flights.

In the wake of 9/11, you will recall, policymakers moved for stronger national standards to verify the identity of driver’s license applicants. This led to the 2005 Real ID Act which established requirements for a national identification system based on the driver’s license. The act requires the states to comply with 18 benchmarks related to the issuance of personal identification cards. Implementation has been slow because many states initially balked at complying, citing financial, logistical and privacy concerns.

Today, however, only seven states remain noncompliant with Real ID. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 20-30 percent of U.S. licensed drivers hold licenses from these states. The holdouts will have to act quickly to meet the 2016 deadline or hope for additional extensions or delays as have occurred in the past.

Getting a Real ID-compliant driver’s license is not as easy as simply renewing your driver’s license. You’ll need to round up your papers and present them in-person at your state’s DMV. Here in Wisconsin getting a compliant driver’s license requires the following documentation:

  • Proof of citizenship or legal status in the U.S.
  • Name and date of birth
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of Wisconsin residency
  • Proof of Social Security number

Make sure to check your state’s requirements before you renew your driver’s license. Your state may offer a choice of a Real ID-compliant or noncompliant driver’s license. If you already have a passport or object to Real ID, you could consider the noncompliant version. A compliant ID card will include a small gold circle containing a white star.

We’re providing this information so you know what to expect the next time you visit the DMV. Let’s be clear. The NMA has opposed Real ID from the beginning. Our position is simple: The only legitimate purpose of the driver’s license is to certify that the license holder is capable of safely operating a motor vehicle on public roads. The license should not be withheld for any reason other than the fact that the applicant could not pass a fair and objective driving test. It should not be suspended or revoked unless, through due process, it is proven that the license owner is not driving in a safe and prudent manner.

Regrettably, through Real ID, the driver’s license is evolving into an internal passport producible on demand through any number of “where are your papers?” scenarios. The personal information collected from each driver will also be pooled and shared among any number of government agencies. Full implementation of Real ID will have substantial consequences for motorists:

  • More government intrusion and control: Real ID, and the sharing of the information it collects, will increasingly be used to track and control individuals’ movements and activities.
  • Increased threats to personal privacy: Since all of an individual’s personal data will be encoded onto the actual ID card, it will be easy for private industry to snap up that data, with or without the owner’s consent.
  • Greater vulnerability to identify theft/fraud: The creation of a single interlinked database containing vast amounts of personal information will become a target for identify thieves.

Even though the Real ID Act was enacted 10 years ago, we’re just beginning to feel its impact. People without Real ID are already restricted from entering certain federal facilities, and those restrictions will broaden to more facilities later this year.

The upcoming travel prohibitions only cover air travel, for now. Who knows what motor vehicle travel will be like once Real ID is in full force? Will motorists without Real ID be allowed to drive when and where they want? Police are already suspicious of anyone behind the wheel. How will they regard someone who can’t produce a Real ID?

We don’t know the answers to these questions, but we do know that Real ID will make life more difficult for many people. We also know that protecting your privacy and your identity will become more important than ever.

NMA E-Newsletter #319: Cars That Never Made It

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 in , , | Comments Off

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They were pure fantasy on wheels, machines designed to make the heart race and the mind ask, “What if?” These 1950s concept cars were automotive art built to attract public attention, test wild engineering ideas and give motorists a fleeting glimpse down the highway of tomorrow.


buick 56





1951 BUICK XP-300




1958 FORD X-2000



195? MERCURY D524        This car was never shown to the public.



1953 FORD X-100




NMA Maryland Alert: Bill Would Limit Right-Turn-on Red Ticketing

Posted on February 20th, 2015 in , , , , , | Comments Off

The Maryland General Assembly is set to take up House Bill 410 which would end the practice of using red-light cameras to issue tickets for slow moving right turns. The bill would require that such citations be issued by a police officer at the time of the alleged violation.

The provision to require a police officer on scene to write the ticket will allow the officer to use his or her discretion to determine whether or not the turn was made in a safe and prudent manner. The “safe and prudent” standard is often used to judge if a driver is acting responsibly when making a right turn on red. However, a ticket camera cannot adequately make this determination and will ticket many drivers who pose no safety risk.

Regarding safety, a review of US Department of Transportation statistics found that an average motorist could drive a billion miles before being involved in an accident that resulted from a rolling right turn. The bottom line is that rolling right turns present little, if any, safety hazard. They do, however, provide many municipalities with the bulk of their red-light camera revenue.

Allowing safe and prudent rolling right turns will keep traffic from backing up and reduce congestion. It will also discourage motorists from slamming on the brakes in response to a signal change (especially at intersections with red-light cameras), preventing rear-end collisions and chain reaction accidents. Finally, it will prevent motorists, who proceed through the turn in a prudent matter, from being penalized for what is inherently a safe and responsible action.

For these reasons, the NMA encourages the passage of HB 410, a common-sense measure that will reduce congestion and accidents, aid traffic flow, and free responsible motorists from unwarranted citations.

HB 410 will be heard by the House Environment and Transportation Committee next week. Please contact members of the committee to tell them to support this important legislation:

NMA E-Newsletter #318: Presenting a Call to Action for Motorists’ Rights

Posted on February 15th, 2015 in , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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On February 6, 2015, NMA President Gary Biller spoke to approximately 100 members of the Lehigh Valley Tea Party (LVTP) at their monthly meeting in the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton area of eastern Pennsylvania. The presentation is part of an outreach program to mobilize more people, needed now more than ever, to fight for drivers’ rights.

While the NMA is not affiliated with any political party or movement, we do seek out receptive audiences who are concerned about the erosion of our civil liberties as motorists, let alone as citizens. We hope from among their ranks will come a new generation of NMA supporters, adding their voices to our call for action against invasive surveillance/tracking schemes, the misappropriation of road-user money intended to maintain quality roads, and the loss of basic constitutional rights in interactions with law enforcement and the justice system.

The LVTP is such a group, providing the added bonus of being situated within a hundred miles of a handful of states—New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware—that like Pennsylvania provide NMA advocates with plenty of opportunities to promote reform.

Here is a video of Gary’s talk that recent February evening.

An abridged version of the presentation slides can be found here.

If you know of a group in your area that may be interested in hearing the NMA’s call for reform of motorists’ civil liberties, let us know. We aren’t evangelists, but we do want to spread the word.

Postscript: The LVTP engagement also made possible a same-weekend opportunity to bring together a few dozen NMA members from as far away as Staten Island, NY, Wilmington, DE, and many points in-between. Allentown’s America On Wheels museum provided a fitting venue for the meeting which focused on issues important to motorists in the region.

NMA Indiana Alert: Bill Would Allow Speed Cameras in Work Zones

Posted on February 9th, 2015 in , , , | Comments Off

he Indiana House is considering a bill to allow speed cameras in highway construction work zones. House Bill 1404 would allow the cameras to issue tickets even when workers are not present. In other words, it’s a big opening for setting up arbitrary and capricious work zones with no workers and no actual construction, and a big opportunity for camera vendors to rake in the profits.

If passed, HB 1404 would provide an entrée for use of photo enforcement throughout the state. Don’t let it happen. Contact members of the House Committee on Roads and Transportation and tell them to vote against HB 1404.

The bill will also be heard by the committee this coming Wednesday. If you can, plan to attend and speak out. Here are the details:

  • House Committee on Roads and Transportation Hearing
  • Wednesday, Feb. 11, 10:00 am
  • Room 156-D at the Statehouse

NMA E-Newsletter #317: “Courteous” Driver the True Obstruction

Posted on February 8th, 2015 in , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

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Last week’s e-newsletter
really stirred up member response with an overwhelming number of you rejecting the Seattle driver’s approach to trying to single-handedly wipe out traffic jams and backups. The consensus was that he was obstructing traffic and should have stayed in the far right lane to let faster traffic pass. We agree. Here are a few of the many comments we received.

From Bill Young, Jr., Minnesota: 

While he seems to think he is “on to something” and helping, he is holding up everyone behind him, a primary cause of road rage. He is a slow-moving obstruction as seen by all the traffic going around him! And he ends up in stop-and-go anyway. Truck drivers often do this “road block” and it ticks off everyone behind them. In Minnesota, we are trying to educate motorists to the zipper merge. MNDOT has had numerous commercials promoting this. The fact is, all highway systems seem to be grossly inadequate for peak traffic volumes, but the zipper merge seems to be the very best solution, outside of more adequate highway systems.

From Willis Weldin, Delaware:

With very few exceptions, I do not believe in courtesy on the road. If it’s your “right of way,” take it. This is what other drivers expect and helps keep traffic flowing smoothly. We’ve all seen cases where someone stops to let a person make a left turn through traffic only to have another driver come up on the right shoulder (lane) unaware of the driver making the left turn. My rule of thumb is courtesy can kill you. If it’s your right of way, take it. It’s what other drivers expect you to do.

From C. Johnson, California:

In theory it looks good but not all drivers are interested in being kind and generous. In years past when I did a lot of freeway driving I tried to leave the required space in front of me. It never worked. There were always those who would squeeze in. Many drivers would not even look, they would just put on their blinkers and move into your lane, whether it was safe or not. This act requires one to be ever vigilant. There are also those who squeeze into a mere car’s length in front of you then try to squeeze into the next lane—all this because they did not plan ahead, knowing where their turnoff was. Maybe this fellow’s plan works in Seattle, but I doubt he would do well in Los Angeles where he would hardly ever have the luxury of having such a long length of free road space ahead of him during the daily commute times.

From Jim Toscas, Illinois:

These principles of courtesy are commendable and can work, in theory. Reality, however, is much different. The driver who leaves a generous interval and maintains a constant speed in a “rubber-banding” traffic pattern will likely simply experience people cutting in front of him. As this is repeated, the net result is to slow the average speed of the lane behind him. He in effect becomes a mild obstacle.

The biggest source of traffic difficulties in the US is the failure of individual drivers to recognize their responsibilities to facilitate the overall safe traffic flow, as well as tend to their own progress. Especially with the younger generations, “it’s all about me.” This means reduced (or nonexistent) situational awareness, lack of predictability and generally selfish driving behavior. A good example is the jerk who cuts in front of a semi at speed and then hits the brakes. Contrast this with drivers on the German Autobahn, who (until recent years) observed road courtesy meticulously.

When I need to, I can whiz through and around traffic with the best of them. But I rarely need to any more. I try to strike a fair balance between accommodating the few drivers who are obviously in a big hurry (they may have a valid case for urgency, or they may just be frenetic drivers—I don’t know and don’t care) and facilitating the smooth flow of traffic. It works for me—I’m accident-free for nearly 50 years.

From Anatoly Arutunoff, Oklahoma:

A Belgian friend says that the law there tells you to drive right up to the merge point and then zipper in; he told me many people don’t know that’s the law—you can tell which ones by their extreme annoyance when someone does that. I kind of like the British way of using hundreds if not a thousand or more five-foot-tall cones, edge to edge, narrowing the lane for about a half mile. That really gets your attention, too.

NMA Missouri Alert: Legislature to take up Speed Limit Bill

Posted on February 6th, 2015 in , , , | Comments Off

The Missouri House is set to take up a bill to raise speed limits on rural interstates and freeways.

If passed, House Bill 295 would raise the speed limit on rural interstates from 70 to 75 mph. It would also give the Department of Public Safety the ability to request that the Missouri Department of Transportation raise speed limits on rural freeways to 75 mph.

Many states have been raising interstate speed limits in recent years, which typically leads to smoother traffic flow, fewer vehicle conflicts and fewer accidents. For these reasons, the NMA supports HB 295.

HB 295 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee. We encourage you to contact members of the committee and ask them to vote for House Bill 295.

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