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Interesting California Traffic Stories for August, 2018



Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting California drivers from the past month.

California Today: What Trump’s Auto Emissions Plan Means for California (NY Times)

President Trump has taken one of his strongest shots yet at California, as the White House on Thursday unveiled its proposal to throttle back President Barack Obama’s regulations on planet-warming vehicle tailpipe pollution — including a plan to revoke California’s right to set its own standard.

The administration’s proposal, jointly published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers to nearly double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of about 54 miles per gallon by 2025. It would halt requirements that automakers build cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles. [Read more…]

These are the US cities with the best — and worst — traffic (CNBC)

On the flip side, with all factors considered, WalletHub found the worst cities to drive in are Detroit, Michigan; San Francisco, California; Oakland, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Seattle, Washington. []

Mercedes Will Launch Self-Driving Taxis in California Next Year (Wired)

Like in a Tough Mudder, you've got a few strategies when it comes to the race to launch a taxi-like service with autonomous vehicles. You can start early and keep a slow but steady pace. You can show up a bit late, then try to sprint through it. Or you can hold back, see what trips up other contenders, and then slowly work your way through the obstacles.

The big automakers tend to fall into the third category. They may have taken a few years to recognize that shared autonomous vehicles could annihilate their business model—selling human-driven cars to individual humans—but they're now making real progress toward the finish line. And today, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler took a cautious step into the swamp stomp, announcing plans to launch a self-driving car pilot somewhere in Silicon Valley, next year. [Read more…]

California hits climate goals, but traffic pollution rises (Earth.com)

According to the Los Angeles Times, California has achieved its goal of lowering harmful emissions from electricity generation with four years to spare. However, a report from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) shows that traffic pollution across the state continues to rise.

To make matters worse, a plan by the Trump administration aims to weaken fuel economy standards that were put in place by President Obama, and the new legislation could revoke California’s ability to set its own vehicle emission standards.

State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said: “This would be the first time the federal government has really taken on California’s authority to do this, which is, as much as anything, a states’ rights issue.” [Read more…]

Drivers are fed up with the DMV. So are California lawmakers. (The Sacramento Bee)

Tyré Nichols had no clue what he was getting himself into. He went online, arrived at the office at 9:45 a.m. and brought all his necessary paperwork.

He expected to be in and out within a couple hours. And yet, there he sat six hours later, waiting outside the Department of Motor Vehicles in miserable 98-degree heat.

He soaked in the views of cars endlessly searching for imaginary spaces and watched the scores of people illegally cross a busy street. He was joined by the dozens more who couldn’t find a seat in the cramped office filled with a couple hundred people. [Read more…]

California DMV offering electronic driver's license application to shorten wait time at office (ABC 7)

Getting your driver's license in California just got a whole lot less time consuming.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is offering an easy-to-use electronic application to complete your driver's license or ID card before visiting a local office.

This would allow you to simply create an account, fill out the form and you're done. [Read more…]

Undocumented immigrants in California could lose driving privileges under new initiative (KEYT 3)

Undocumented immigrants in California could soon lose their driving privileges.

A new initiative would reverse AB-60, the state law allowing undocumented drivers to apply for a license. Some Central Coast voters may be on board.

“Under the current process anybody who gets a driver's license gets signed up to vote automatically," said Greg Gandrud, a spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Republican Party. "This results in illegal aliens being registered to vote. We need to make sure that our electoral process protects our democracy.”

AB-60 licenses don't allow undocumented immigrants to vote, however. [Read more…]

California DMV worker slept 3 hours a day on the job for nearly 4 years (SF Chronicle)

A state Department of Motor Vehicles worker slept at least three hours a day on the job for nearly four years, slowing down processing times in an agency known for its long waits, a state audit said Tuesday.

According to the state auditor’s report, the DMV worker napped at her desk for an estimated 2,200 hours of work time between February 2014 and December 2017, costing the state more than $40,000. The employee’s name was not released.

The employee’s supervisors failed to discipline her, despite noting in her performance evaluations that she routinely slept on the job, the audit said. [Read more…]

Anger over long DMV wait times in California inspires move to extend deadlines (VC Star)

A California lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to give drivers more time to renew their licenses in response to reports of excessive wait times at the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

The proposal from Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, would provide a 90-day deadline extension to renew all licenses set to expire this year and to register out-of-state vehicles. [Read more…]

California law lets speeding drivers set speed limits. That's insane. (LA Times)

To the editor: After living for 60-plus years inside and outside the United States, I moved to California about a year ago. Driving has been a huge aggravation, and I wonder why motorists here drive so fast, why speed limits are so high and why enforcement seems absent.

The editorial and news article about the state law requiring that speed limits be set according to studies that determine the natural flow of traffic answer those questions. Requiring speed-limit enforcement to be severely limited in the absence of a recent traffic study ranks as one of the craziest laws of all time. [Read more…]

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