Monday, March 30, 2015

National Camera News: Two-Faced Triple-A's Failed Attempt to Bring Speed Cameras to Indiana

The Indiana branch of Insurance Company AAA launched an unsuccessful lobbying campaign to bring speed cameras to another state.

We reported some time ago how "AAA Hoosier" had expressed on their website that "the AAA Hoosier Motor Club will focus its efforts on supporting legislation that would allow for the use of speed enforcement cameras in construction zones, school zones".   Last year the organization stepped up its campaign in favor of photo enforcement by promoting a series of news articles and editorials supporting legislation which would have introduced speed cameras to the state.  The bill also authorized cameras on school bus stop arms, and advocating for that portion of the bill was largely used by proponents to distract from the speed camera element of the bill.

In an editorial on NWI.com, AAA's spokesperson Greg Seiter plead for the legislature to pass the photo enforcement bill.  "The issue isn't driver privacy, government intrusion or motorist inconvenience. House Bill 1404 is about preventing injuries and saving lives."

House Bill 1404 would have put speed cameras in highway work zones, similar to the ones used in Maryland.  However the Indiana bill which Insurance Company AAA supported would have had $300 fines, which would have escalated as high as $1000 after multiple violations.  The bill explicitly permitted "bounty system," paying contractors a 25% cut of each ticket, which in other states (including Maryland) AAA has claimed was a conflict of interest.  The bill Insurance Company AAA supported also contained a presumption of guilt by explicitly stated that "There is a rebuttable presumption that the owner of a vehicle that is the subject of a recorded image was operating the vehicle when the image was recorded" -- a presumption which is in fact not true in many cases.

The National Motorist Association, the only nationwide organization to defend motorist rights, wrote a counter-editorial to Insurance Company AAA's.  The NMA's John Bowman argued that "Speed Cameras won't live up to safety promises" and that "putting speed cameras in highway work zones will do little to protect workers since only around 14 percent of work zone fatalities involve workers and many of these are caused by construction vehicles or other non-traffic related causes, according to the U.S. Department of Labor."  "The purpose of all camera-based traffic enforcement is to enrich the for-profit camera companies and their business partners: the public officials who become addicted to the easy revenue cameras provide" Bowman stated.

Barnet Fagel, a Chicago based video forensic expert and NMA advocate, argued  “Where’s the due process? Who’s the person who’s going to testify in court against you, the camera?”  Fagel also noted "Even the finest cameras are subject to error; cosine angle factor error and operator error. I’ve had one (case) where a car was on the back of a tow truck being towed, and the driver was exceeding the speed limit. And, the owner of the towed vehicle got the ticket because that’s the license plate that was most readily seen"

HB 1404 passed an Indiana state house committee in February.  The bill seemed poised to pass. However an alliance of liberal and libertarian delegates began to question the bill's provisions, and lawmakers pulled the plug on the bill.  According to the NWITimes :
A unique coalition of limited-government Republicans and liberty-loving Democrats united in opposition to Soliday's idea of authorizing the state or a local government to deploy cameras in road construction areas that would snap photos of speeding motorists 24 hours a day, even if no workers were present, and send tickets demanding fines of up to $1,000 for repeat "  and "State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, who noted his agreement with Washburne 'is kind of an ACLU meets Tea Party moment,' said he doesn't want Indiana to become like many other states where speed cameras are loathed.  
“It’s a slippery slope,” said Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) during last week’s Roads and Transportation Committee hearing. “Once it starts in the construction work zones, that becomes a rationale to expand it and expand it, and then, where does it stop?”
"This kind of automated enforcement really turns people against their government," Pierce said. "I think it breeds contempt for government."
A letter the Maryland Drivers Alliiance sent to AAA's Greg Seiter in February about the bill went unanswered.  It's unclear whether AAA Hoosier will attempt to promote a similar bill again next year.


The Truth About Triple A
AAA describes itself as a motor club, and claims to advocate for motorists, sometimes publicly going on TV to advocate for ticketed motorists.  However AAA is one of the largest sellers of insurance in the US, collecting over $2billion in insurance premiums per year.  AAA has an intimate relations with the auto insurance industry: "The Auto Club Group" (AAA) is a member of the insurance industry group IIHS, and in the past a representative of AAA has even chaired the IIHS.

Some of AAA's other positions, which many motorists and AAA customers oppose, have included arguing in favor of a VMT (Vehicle Mileage Tax) in Idaho, and advocating an increase in the federal gas tax, and supporting an increase in the state gas tax in Virginia.  AAA Mid Atlantic's Lon Anderson took credit for getting statewide speed cameras passed in Maryland and for getting red light cameras reintroduced in Virginia.  Anderson also stated to the Gazette that AAA was trying to get speed cameras for Maryland years before we actually got them.

AAA Publication Promotes Nation Wide Use of Speed Cameras
A research paper published by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety asked that the federal government should "Encourage states and communities to use automated enforcement as appropriate".  The paper recommended that "All states should permit automated enforcement using speed cameras and should encourage and support communities in using automated enforcement in appropriate situations."   The paper literally promotes the idea of using less unpopular forms of automated enforcement to create a "slippery slope": "Jurisdictions where the public may not be ready to accept speed cameras may wish to use red light running cameras first". 

Only 14 states currently allow speed cameras, and photo enforcement has been rejected in public referendums in most cases where the issue has been brought to the ballot.

Dump Two Faced Triple A
AAA often claims to be on the side of motorists, as a way of getting cheap PR.  But in our opinion, their positions are inconsistent a members have little idea what they are really lobbying for, and motorists certainly cannot rely on them to speak for us.  The Maryland Drivers Alliance Recommends that all those who want to protect their legal rights dump their AAA membership and join another organization which consistently supports motorist rights.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Anti-Motorist Committee Kills Speed Camera Repeal, Reform Bills

The House Environment and Transportation Committee voted down four bills that would have reformed aspects of speed and red light camera programs, while approving a bill which would authorize a $500 photo-ticket for a third type of photo ticket.

Committee Voted Down Repeal of SHA Speed Cameras
The Environment and Transportation committee voted down a bill which would have ended the SHA's speed camera program, with a 17-2 Vote.  See Vote Count Here

The National Motorists Association (NMA) had supported the bill, noting in their testimony that over half of workzone accidents are actually caused by worker's own equipment.  The NMA also noted that "A 2012 legislative audit of the Maryland State Highway Administration’s speed camera program found that the state’s “SafeZones” program had failed to adequately test the equipment and that the state flouted its own law regarding a requirement that speed cameras be independently certified.  It’s clear that poor administration of the state’s various speed camera programs has led unfair treatment of countless motorists and represents a violation of the public trust."  The NMA is the only nationwide organization dedicated to protecting motorist rights.

The Maryland Drivers Alliance also supported the legislation, stating in written testimony:
We believe that violations of people's legal rights for the sake of revenue and expediency are intrinsic to the nature of automated enforcement.  The lack of oversight and lack of transparency on speed camera programs make abuses in this system inevitable. The legislature knows there have been abuses.  From the beginning, Maryland's speed camera program was born in fraud, deception, and shady deals.
With reference to the SHA's failure to independently calibrate their own equipment and follow their own procurement rules, confirmed by a 2012 SHA Audit,  we noted that "Some say the SHA's program is a “model” speed camera program.  We say yes, they are a model, and that's the problem.  Local governments followed the SHA's example and did the exact same thing."

We also noted that under the previous administration the SHA opposed any and all efforts to reform Maryland's speed camera law with respect to their own program.  "The word “accuracy” does not exist anywhere in the calibration requirements in Maryland's speed camera law.  Nor does state law require equipment to meet any nationally recognized standard.  This is what turned Maryland into a beta test site for buggy, unproven speed cameras.  NO you did NOT fix that gaping flaw in the law last year."



MaCo Takes Credit For Killing Speed Camera Audit Bill
A bill that would have required audits of speed camera programs, such as the audit which proved that Baltimore City's Program had a 10% rate of erroneous tickets, was voted down amid strong opposition from local governments.

The idea of requiring audits was strongly opposed by local governments such as Montgomery County, which are terrified that errors will be proven in their own programs if they are forced to accept independent oversight or review.

The Maryland Association of Counties (MaCo), a collective lobbying tool for county governments, opposed the audit bill, and MaCo's spokesperrson Les Knapp trumpeted their success in killing it on their "ConduitStreet" bog.  The Maryland Association of Counties (MaCo) lied in their testimony to the legislature regarding the audit bill, claiming that "The audit requirement would require a local government to take down it's speed cameras and ship them to a qualified laboratory to be tested" which would have shut cameras down for an extended period of time every four months.  In fact this testimony by MaCo's Les Knapp was completely false, since the bill contained no requirement that hardware be examined or shut down at all.

The other reason MaCo gave for opposing the bill, was that the legislature had rejected the bill in previous years, largely because MaCo and local government which profit from speed cameras had opposed it then as well.

YOUR county's representative on MaCo's legislative committee can be found here.  We note that ALL members of MaCo's legislative committee are culpable in MaCo's activities to limit the legal rights of motorists at public expense, either by their action or by their inaction.


Local Governments Opposes Even Trivial Protections Of Motorist Rights
MaCo, an opaque organization which is funded in large part by your tax dollars, also opposed legislation which would have required the "local designee" (sometimes incorrectly referred to as "ombudsman") to be approved after a public hearing.  MaCo's primary reason for opposing the legislation was "the General Assembly has already considered and rejected the notion of requiring a
local governing body’s approval of the ombudsman", a decision the General Assembly made largely because MaCo opposed the idea of any and all outside oversight of local speed camera programs.

The Maryland Drivers Alliance had written testimony in favor of the bill, noting that "the “local designee” role created by HB929 last year does not currently function as a practical means of addressing public concerns nor does it function as a meaningful “ombudsman” by any commonly held understanding of the term."  We pointed out that selected Local Designees are not independent or objective, since in some cases the heads of speed camera programs had been appointed as "ombudsman".

In fact the bill which created this role in 2014 was actually written by a secret "Speed Camera Reform Work Group", which met in private without notifying the public, taking minutes or agendas, and which included MaCo and the heads of large speed camera programs (particularly the heads of Montgomery County and Prince George's County's speed camera programs") but that opponents of speed cameras were not included or even informed that the work group existed.  The existance of the Speed Camera Reform Workgroup was confirmed by correspondence from MaCo and from the head of Montgomery County's speed camera program, but the Department of Legislative Services claims that they have no minutes, agendas, or records of public notice for the group's meetings.  Thus the entire effort of "reform" conducted in 2013 and 2014 was actually a demonstration of exactly what was wrong with speed camera programs in the first place: too much secrecy and no willingness to listen to the pubic.

"If the legislature is truly serious about reform, and serious about openness and transparency, then what you really need to do is start over and do it right.  Amend this bill to create a new “speed camera reform work group” which includes members appointed by the governor, and which is subject to the open meetings act.  No more secret speed camera meetings.  Engage with the public, and with the opponents of speed cameras – not just those who believe the system is fine -- and hear out the reasons why we have problems with the current system for real this time." -- we wrote in our testimony.

The Environment and Transportation committee ignored this plea and unceremoniously killed this bill as well.


Senate Passes Meaningless Placebo Version of Local Designee Bill
A version of the local designee bill did pass the senate, however only after it was amended to remove the requirement for hearings.   The requirement for a hearing was the only part of the bill which had any practical effect, and removing that provision entirely defeats the purpose of the bill -- providing a small element of outside oversight and transparency in order to ensure a local designee is in fact an independent "ombudsman" rather than someone with a vested interest in keeping a local government's problems secret.

It has yet to be seen whether the Environment and Transportation committee will vote down the amended bill as well (which they might as well do at this point), or approve it and promote a meaningless farce of a bill which actually does nothing.  The View of the Maryland Drivers Alliance is that this is essentially what the legislature did in 2014: write a bill designed to keep existing practices in place, which was written by the heads of speed camera programs, and pass it off as "reform" to a public which they believe to be too uneducated to know better.


Montgomery County, Rockville Had 1 Million Reasons to Oppose Right Turn Camera Bill
The Environment and Transportation Committee also killed a bill which would have ended the practice of ticketing vehicles for slow moving right turns from a right turn lane.

The bill was strongly opposed by Rockville and Montgomery County, each of which stood to loose approximately $1Million per year in photo ticket revenues if they could no longer issue tickets for vehicles making right turn on red where right turns are allowed.

Rockville, in particular, has only ten red light cameras, but saw their red light camera revenues more than double after deploying cameras optimized for ticketing vehicles which were making right turns without a 100% complete stop, or which in some cases vehicles which did make a full stop but slightly ahead of the white line.  Some cameras, positioned to capture images turning from a right turn lane, saw more than a factor of ten increase in tickets after the new ticketing practice was put into effect.  The fiscal policy notes for the bill also indicated that "Montgomery County advises that it may no longer allow red light camera enforcement in right lanes under the bill, which may result in a loss of roughly one third of citations and more than $1 million annually, unless offset by greater enforcement of other lanes in other locations."

Opponents of the bill asserted, without providing proof, that the measure would increase dangers to pedestrians.  A report from the NHTSA on right turn on red noted that right turn on red had an extremely small effect on safety. "Right-Turn-On-Red crashes represent a very small proportion of the total number of traffic crashes in the four states (0.05 percent). RTOR injury and fatal crashes represent a fraction of 1 percent of all fatal and injury crashes (0.06 percent). RTOR crashes represent a very small proportion of signalized intersection crashes (0.4 percent)."  The report further noted that "less than 0.2 percent of all fatalities involved a right-turning vehicle maneuver at an intersection where RTOR is permitted " while further noting that some of these accidents actually occurred when the light was not red for the turning vehicle at all and that the actual numbers are even lower than this would indicate.

This bill was supported by the National Motorists Association, which asserted in their written testimony "The question of whether or not rolling right turns present a safety hazard was answered in a study conducted in 2011 by Safer Streets L.A. (www.saferstreetsla.org), after analyzing nine years of crash data in Los Angeles. The study concluded that accidents attributed to such maneuvers accounted for only .08 percent of total accidents in the city, and the chance that a rolling right turn would result in a collision was .0003 percent. In addition, a separate review of US Department of Transportation statistics found that an average motorist could drive a billion miles -- the distance from Earth to Jupiter and back -- before being involved in an accident that resulted from a rolling right-hand turn (thenewspaper.com/news/26/2693.asp). The bottom line is that rolling right turns present little, if any, safety hazard."

Committee Approves $500 Photo Ticket
The Environment and Transportation Committee id allow one photo enforcement related bill to go through, a bill which would set a precedent for fines of up to $500 for automated enforcement tickets by raising the maximum fines for "school bus monitoring system" tickets from $250 to $500.  The bill's sponsors presented this as being necessary because there were too many people passing school buses.  Montgomery County have been issuing only about 5 tickets per camera per month in their first nine months their school bus cameras were in operation.  By comparison, the City of Rockville's red light cameras issued approximately 200 citations per camera per month at the end of 2013.  Given that the cameras are issuing only 1/40th as many tickets as a red light camera would, either the county or their vendor or both would be unable to turn a profit off of these these cameras given the current fines.  In general local governments will not continue photo enforcement programs which do not produce revenue over the long term.

The law regarding school bus monitoring systems contains fewer protections for the legal rights of defendants than speed cameras do.  The fines of up to $500 would be issued to the owners of vehicles, rather than the drivers, who would be forced to "admit guilt" in passing a school bus (since courts in Maryland have determined that paying a fine is an admission of guilt) if they were unable to identify the driver.  This is despite the fact that in some cases the driver may have been unknown, and despite the fact that under courtroom rules of evidence a person can in general only testify to facts they personally witnessed.

By comparison, when the now-chairman of the Environment and Transportation Committee Kumar Barve was arrested for drunk driving he received a "PBJ" (probation before judgement) and was required to pay a fine of only $200 for a type off violation which kills thousands of innocent motorists, pedestrians, and children every year.  DUI cases are handled by the much stricter standard of "proof beyond reasonable doubt", and the proof must show the person accused was personally responsible.  The court in such cases is not permitted to accept unauthenticated evidence against the accused, and the right to face a human accuser is protected.  On the other hand, photo tickets of the sort which Barve's committee approved are judged by the standard of "beyond reasonable doubt" and a person can literally be found guilty even if there is evidence proving they were not present at the time of the offense.  The state can present evidence against the accused, and there is no provision in the statute for the defendant to face the operator of the device or any specific human accuser,

The burden of proof spelled out in the current law regarding school bus monitoring systems is so low that it does not actually require the device to collect evidence which proves the vehicle actually passed a bus.  In fact the word "passing" does not even appear in the statute which authorizes school bus monitoring cameras.  For example, it is technically illegal in Maryland, under the statute the cameras enforce, to come to a full stop closer than 20 feet from a school bus.  Red light cameras were re-purposed to ticket for slow moving right turns after they had been in use for several years, and the legislature merely needed to do nothing in order for that practice to continue expanding.  While the bill sponsors repeatedly refer to it as being about passing school buses, there is absolutely nothing in the bill which prevents the cameras from being re-purposed in the future to ticket for such technical violations other than actually passing a school bus, including those of a sort which literally never cause traffic fatalities.  Local governments will now have a $500 per ticket incentive to begin doing exactly that.

Of course the public has gotten the assurance from politicians these cameras won't be used in this way (someone did promise you that didn't they?), so obviously there is nothing to worry about.  Because if you can't trust politicians who can you trust?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

District Court Changes Citation Language

In response to citizen complaints, the District Court has directed local governments make changes to speed camera citation language pertaining to the situation when one was not the driver.  The new Uniform Citation language also requires the court to state the contact information for the program's "local designee".

"In response to citizen complaints, I have revised these citations to ensure our uniform citations are fully compliant with the letter and intent of the law."  wrote chief judge John P. Morrissey.  "The revisions made reflect those efforts and our ongoing commitment to provide clear, accurate, and understandable information."

Angelita Williams, the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Administrative Office of the Courts, stated in an email that the letter had been sent out to jurisdictions and vendors late last year.  "The Speed monitoring citation, Rev. 12/2104*, has the revised language for the transfer of liability and a new paragraph on the back notice for contact information for the “local designee” described in the letter."

The letter from the court directed the use of a new template "as soon as possible" and stated that it was required for use by January 2015.  That new template removed the words "transfer of liability" and replaced them with the words "SPEED CAMERA--NOT THE DRIVER".




The new language regarding when a motorist isn't the driver replaces language which stated that one was required to identify who was driving.  Maryland's speed camera statute contains no such requirement, and in fact says that it is a defense if one was not driving, if one follows specific steps prior to the court hearing to notify the court in writing.

We previously reported that in December 2013 the Circuit Court ruled that it was a defense if one was not the driver.  The case in question was State of Maryland vs Ely, which was argued in circuit court "pro se" by a Member of the Maryland Drivers Alliance who had received a Montgomery County speed camera citation when he was not driving.  In his defense, Ely noted that state law had no requirement for a ticket recipient to identify who was driver, only to provide "corroborating evidence" to the court in advance that one was not driving..

Subsequently, district court judges grudgingly accepted this defense in some district court cases.  The language on the backs of citations implied that one needed to "transfer" liability, and made no mention that there was an option to not name the driver.

However implementing the procedure was.  In order to implement the defense under Maryland Law, one needs to follow very specific steps to notify the court in advance, sending a sworn statement certified mail return receipt.  One motorist reported to the Maryland Drivers Alliance that he had attempted to implement the defense, but the judge in that case refused to accept it because the court didn't have a copy of the letter in their file, even though the motorist had a certified mail receipt.

The chairman of the Maryland Drivers Alliance asked the Chief Judge of the Court to reconsider speed monitoring system citation language because it provided no instructions on how to implement the defense listed under the statute, and instead referred only to the transfer option.  In that complaint to the court, we laid out the problems with the prior citation language:
In the case of "Baker vs Montgomery County" it was asserted that paying a speed monitoring citation is an “admission of speeding” (to use the words of the Court of Appeals).  This implies it is more than merely an admission of "liability" in the sense of an acknowledgment that one is the registered owner, but rather an acknowledgment that one did commit the violation.  Requiring a person to prove someone else guilty in order to avoid "admitting guilt" would violate the core principal of our justice system by decisively shifting the burden of proof to the accused.[...] 
Contesting a citation in district court under 21-809(f)(1)(ii) requires a motorist to take a very specific action within a specific amount of time.  It is not merely a question of requesting a hearing.  You need to mail the court a sworn statement and exculpatory evidence in advance, and you must do so in a very specific way.   If a person assumes that “Transfer of Liability” is an accurate and complete interpretation of the statute because it has been presented that way, but they are unable to identify the driver, then they lose the opportunity to contest the citation under 21-809(f)(1)(ii).[...] 
There is a legitimate legal reason why this would be.  A person cannot testify to facts which they do not have first hand knowledge of, let alone be compelled to do so, because “hearsay” is not permitted under Maryland rules.  A defendant who wishes to give hearsay evidence in their own defense in court would likely be told by the judge that they may not. 
A requirement to incriminate another person in order to exonerate oneself may in some cases also infringe on legally recognized privileges against being compelled to provide testimony.  This would notably include "spousal privilege", which is considered important enough that civil liberties organizations have gone to court in the past to defend it.   If the interest in prosecuting most criminal violations does not justify an exception to spousal privilege, then prosecuting traffic citations cannot present enough public interest to justify an exception to a well established legal privilege. 
[...]If approval for the current Uniform Citation format was given, it must have been based on input from agencies which issue the tickets without hearing arguments or input from anyone more objective.  Advocates for motorists had no means to present the District Court with counter arguments or concerns until now. 
A number of other motorists wrote to the Chief Judge as well, but the court initially responded to some of those individuals in October of 2014 that the court would not change the citation language.  The court's letter in November appears to represent a shift in that position.

The new template also adds contact information for an agency's "local designee" where an individual can theoretically send a complaint or concern.  Many local governments had either buried the contact information for this individual deep in their websites where the information would be unlikely to be found, or did not publish such contact information at all.  Such a position would be rendered meaningless if the public had no way of knowing how to send a complaint and this would have permitted an agency to claim they had received no complaints about their program at all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

College Park Tickets Wrong Car

A Westminster resident received a speed camera ticket from College Park without visting the city.

The ticket, issued in February, showed a picture of a white SUV, but was issued to the owner of a Black Camery instead.  Several of the characters on the image of the license plate were not clear on the citation.

The recipient contacted the Maryland Drivers Alliance who directed them to the correct location to request the city review the ticket.  When the motorist did not receive confirmation until 4 days before the due date to request a hearing, the motorist contacted the city again.  After the city was queried about the citation by both the Maryland Drivers Alliance and a local radio reporter, the city admitted the ticket was in error, but attempted to place the blamed on the Motor vehicle Administration rather than the fact the plate was misread:
"Our speed camera citation processing contractor has now been able to review your citation and MD MVA records for the vehicle photographed and your vehicle. Your citation has been dismissed due to it being issued in error based upon the information originally provided by MVA to our contractor, and the error being confirmed by MVA. All  action related to this citation has been dismissed. "

Such errors are not uncommon in some jurisdictions, but are rarely publicly reported.

College Park budgeted to bring in $1,600,000 in speed camera fines in FY2015 (an increase from FY14), approximately 40% of which goes to their contractor.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Powerful Transportation Committee Chaired by State Delegate With Prior Drunk Driving Arrest

One of the most powerful legislative committees in the General Assembly, and the one which has overwhelming control over matters pertaining to transportation, motorist, and traffic safety issues, is currently chaired by a State Delegate who previously plead guilty to a drunk driving offense.

In November 2014, House Speaker Busch selected Delegate Kumar Barve (D, Montgomery County) to chair the Environment and Transportation Committee.

In July 2008, Delegate Barve plead guilty to a DUI charge and was given "probation before judgement".   This ruling permitted Barve to avoid a guilty verdict and all but $200 of the $1000 fine was suspended.

The arrest was not merely a "youthful indiscretion".  At the time of the DUI incident, Barve held the powerful position as House Majority leader.  Barve will now chair the Environment and Transportation Committee.  All legislation in the House of Delegates having to do with transportation, including all bills regarding traffic laws and enforcement thereof, will first need to pass through Barve's committee.

This chairmanship position is insufficient for Barve's ambitions, who recently announced his intention to run for Congress in Maryland's 8th district,

House Speaker Busch touted Barve's credentials for the chairmanship of the House's primary committee on transportation issues in his press release regarding the appointment, stating that "Delegate Barve has demonstrated time and time again his command of complex issues and he is a natural choice of someone to guide State environment and transportation policy."

But we can't help but wonder about that.  There is an obvious question of why someone with a prior DUI arrest is the ideal person to preside over a committee which helps decide the state's traffic safety laws.  Certainly most members of the House of Delegates have never been arrested for DUI, and certainly the writer of this piece has never driven while drunk even one time in his life.  It does not seem like it should have been hard to find another qualified delegate whose credentials included never having been caught driving drunk.

One might also wonder if a politician in that position might feel compelled to act against the interests of Motorists any time the word "safety" is brought up, with no consideration for how this impacts people's legal rights, or whether the safety claim is valid, or whether a particular piece of legislation actually addresses said safety issue in an appropriate manner.  Would a politician in that position be pressured to prove their "safety credentials" even when that might mean hypocritically holding other motorists accountable for that lawmaker's prior actions?