Interesting Arizona Traffic Stories for January, 2019
Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting Arizona drivers from the past month.
The ACLU of Arizona filed a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for not turning over records that will help determine if police officers are illegally prolonging traffic stops to investigate a person’s immigration status.
The lawsuit argues ICE violated the Freedom of Information Act for not responding to a request for records from its Law Enforcement Support Center in Vermont.
“This support center is what most local police reach out to when they have someone they’ve stopped for a traffic offense and they have a reason to believe the person might be undocumented,” said Billy Peard, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Arizona.
A 2015 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear police officers cannot prolong a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion. [Read more…]
Arizona motorists could soon be able to fight traffic tickets in court without — as they do now — automatically risking higher insurance rates if they lose.
A legislative proposal would allow drivers who think they are innocent — or think they can persuade a judge of that — to attend defensive-driving classes if they are unable to make their case in court.
Right now the opportunity to take a defensive-driving class is available only to those who choose not to contest a citation. The moment someone fights it in court, that option evaporates.
This is important because those who successfully complete the four-hour classes, whether in person or online, have the citation wiped from their records. That means no points on their license.
Most importantly, a ticket erased with a defensive-driving class is not reported to insurance companies… [Read more…]
With roads extra-crowded with holiday travelers, it’s a good time to remind drivers that Arizona’s “Move Over” law covers all vehicles, not just those of first responders.
That means drivers need to make the effort to scoot into an inside lane whenever any vehicle with its flashers on is pulled over on a freeway, multi-lane highway or city road.
“It’s the difference of everyone going home at night or not,” Angela Barnett, executive director of the Arizona Professional Towing and Recovery Association, said about the importance of adhering to the law. “I don’t know what kind of a price tag you can put on a life.”
More than 2 million Arizonans are expected to travel during the holiday season, a 5 percent increase from 2017, according to the American Automobile Association.
“It’s not just responders, it’s for any individual in the state of Arizona that has their flashing lights on on the side of the road,” Barnett said. “So if you’re broken down, people are required to move over for you, or your children or their children. I think when you put it in terms like that, people should think about that more.” [Read more…]
Imagine yourself driving down the highway and a massive truck flips over and you're one of the first people on scene.
"You get used to it. It's a daily job," says Frontier Towing driver, Benjamin Bedoy.
But the everyday-grind of a tow truck driver is probably more dangerous than you'd expect.
"I've been hit. I've been hit by mirrors going down the road at 75 miles-per-hour down the road. And you know what? Nobody ever stops...no body ever comes back," says owner of Frontier Towing, Jim Mooney.
And when it comes to deaths, the numbers are even more staggering.
"Every time a policeman is killed, there's six tow truck drivers killed," says Mooney.
So no doubt, when the time comes for tow truck drivers to be called to a scene, there's a lot going through their minds.
"Everyday, I'm scared to death that they're going to get injured. Someone is going to clip them, they're going to be in the hospital, they're not going to go home to their families," says Mooney.
Since we were small, we've been taught to be vigilant for emergency personnel. But what about those vehicles that don't have all the sirens and flashing lights we're used to seeing? [Read more…]
Since most Arizona drivers licences last for decades, without expiring it's up to the driver to keep up with forever changing traffic laws.
Since 2000, there has been a law on the books called the three foot passing law or the three foot law for short. It pertains to drivers giving bicyclist at least three feet of space when sharing the road.
It's recommended that drivers change lanes to avoid trying to squeeze past a bicyclist, so that the cyclist car ride safely. Stanley Roberts conducted a pop quiz to see how many people knew about the three-foot law. [Read more…]
Arizonans can usually count on gas prices dropping along with the outdoor temperatures in winter, but not this year. Fuel costs are sticking stubbornly near their summertime highs, even as they fall in many other parts of the country.
The average price of a gallon of regular fuel Friday was $2.68 in Arizona, according to AAA. Meanwhile, the national average fell to $2.29 a gallon on Friday, and 20 states have averages below $2 a gallon, according to AAA.
The gap between Arizona and national prices is among the largest seen in the last decade.
"Generally, you do come in a bit lower," said Dan McTeague, a petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, which tracks fuel trends nationwide.
He noted that Arizona prices are falling, but were held up in early December by supply constraints in California, where Arizona gets about half of its fuel supply. The other half comes from Texas, as Arizona has no refineries of its own. [Read more…]
The new year will bring a new fee for Arizona drivers.
Judging by the social media reaction, this fee has taken a lot of people by surprise. We verified six things you need to know about the “public safety fee.”
How much is the new fee?
Starting Jan. 1, all Arizona car and truck owners will pay a $32 “public safety fee” when they renew their vehicle registration. We all pay the same fee, whether you own a $50,000 Mercedes-Benz or a $5,000 beater.
Drivers whose registration expires next month are getting the news in the mail right now.
What does the fee pay for?
The new fee pays for the Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol.
Why is the fee needed now?
The Highway Patrol and statewide highway repairs are supposed to be paid for largely by gasoline taxes… [Read more…]
Photo radar has been a continued thorn in the side, or the lead foot, of Arizona drivers.
From local cities to the state, the unmanned cameras are catching speeders with a flash and a click.
But have they all been legal?
At least one speed trap was determined to be illegal, and this will cost the West Valley city of El Mirage a pretty penny.
Nearly $100,000, to be exact. [Read more…]
Deliveries from a grocery store here will soon be arriving with no one behind the wheel.
A fully autonomous vehicle began piloting public roads Tuesday with no backup driver, though it will be monitored by humans in another automobile.
After almost 1,000 test runs with humans aboard modified Prius vehicles, deliveries launched Tuesday here using the R1, an automobile with no steering wheel and no seats for humans.
The R1, when summoned, will travel within a one-mile radius of the Fry’s Food grocery store just east of the Phoenix Zoo.
It will travel up to 25 miles per hour on residential roads, but stay clear of main roads or highways, according to Pam Giannonatti of Kroger Co., which owns Fry’s.
Kroger has partnered with the tech company Nuro on the project. [Read more…]
Starting next month, it will cost you $32 more to renew registration for your car, truck or motorcycle.
But that’s not, not, NOT because Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature raised your taxes.
It’s a fee, not a tax, our leaders assure us.
And besides that, they didn’t raise it. They merely authorized the bureaucrats to raise it, in order to avoid having to vote to take more of your money.
They gave a bureaucrat that power. The new tax … oops, I mean, fee … will raise $185 million, to be used to fund the state Highway Patrol, freeing up other state funds to put toward teacher pay raises and road improvements.
It is, of course, understandable that new revenues are needed in a state desperate for cash given our leaders' unending hunger for corporate tax cuts.
Instead of setting the new fee, however, Ducey and the Legislature directed state Transportation Director John Halikowski to figure out how much it cost to run the Highway Patrol and to slap an annual "highway safety fee'' onto your annual vehicle registration tab to cover it. [Read more…]