Friday, May 22, 2009

Alaska Ranks 37th In National Motorists Association Survey Of Severity Of Traffic Enforcement In The United States, Published In May 2009

From the KSL Channel 5 website, we learn that the National Motorists Association (NMA) has published a survey on severity of traffic enforcement in the United States, categorized by individual state. To no one's surprise, the People's Republic of New Jersey ranks first, having the most "severe" traffic enforcement of all the states. Full list of state rankings available HERE.

By comparison, Alaska's traffic enforcement is relatively mild. We rank only 37th, and we don't have photo radar, nor do we permit sobriety checkpoints (police checkpoints must be used for other purposes). In addition, it is well known that on our major state highways, police allow wiggle room (where the speed limit is 65 mph, one can go up to 74 mph without danger of being pulled over, as long as driving conditions are optimum and there is no reckless driving involved).

The National Motorists Association also refers us to, which lists speed traps by state. Data is inputted by the public with no verification or quality control, so use with caution. To find speed traps for your location, visit this page and select the state of interest.

Reported Alaska speed traps listed HERE.

Seventeen different criteria were used to compile the NMA report (appears in no particular order):

1) Speed Traps Per Capita (# of speed traps listed on indexed to population)
2) Does the state have “driver responsibility” fees? (Click HERE for a typical example of how "driver responsibility fees" work, it is a rip-off; read another article HERE.)
3) Does the state have mayor’s courts?
4) Does the state authorize the use of roadblocks?
5) What are the freeway speed limits?
6) Does the state have red-light cameras?
7) Does the state have speed cameras?
8) Are there toll roads in the state?
9) Is a jury trial available for traffic violations?
10) Is trial by declaration (asserting a defense in writing without appearing in court) available?
11) Is the state a member of the Non-Resident Violator Compact?
12) Is the state a member of the Driver’s License Compact?
13) Are radar detectors banned in the state?
14) Does the state have a primary seat belt law?
15) Are there adult helmet laws in the state?
16) Are there move-over laws in the state?
17) Is cell phone use banned?

The NMA website also contains a few other articles which may be of interest:

-- Six Cities That Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit. Yellow light cycles of 4 seconds or longer are consider optimal to effectively balance public safety and human reaction capability, but some cities found that shortening yellow light cycles to less than 4 seconds caused more motorists to technically "run" red lights, increasing citations and profits. I've timed Anchorage's yellow lights, and they last 4 seconds.

-- Ten Reasons To Oppose Red Light Cameras. Anchorage's experience with photo radar was mercifully short-lived. It did not adequately discriminate between drivers and vehicle owners; the registered owner would be sent the ticket, thus violating the presumption of innocence by requiring an innocent vehicle owner to prove innocence. In addition, photo radar contractors collected 70 percent of the fines as compensation.

It’s Just A Decimal Point: The Dirty Secret Behind Breathalyzers. An example of how junk science gets mindlessly parroted by the media.

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