From a press release from the NHTSA:
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today issued a final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018. This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents.
“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”
Today’s final rule requires all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks, manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, to come equipped with rear visibility technology that expands the field of view to enable the driver of a motor vehicle to detect areas behind the vehicle to reduce death and injury resulting from backover incidents. The field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.
“Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “We’re already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through our NCAP program and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars today.”
On average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover crashes. NHTSA has found that children under 5 years old account for 31 percent of backover fatalities each year, and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26 percent.
From a story by Ted Gregory of the Chicago Tribune:
In a few months, obtaining [a] license will be a little more complicated for older teens, increasing numbers of whom are delaying the rite of obtaining driver’s licenses. Starting July 1, Illinois will require all 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds to complete six hours of classroom or online driver education before receiving a license. Behind-the-wheel training will not be required.
Current Illinois law allows those 18 or older to receive their first license if they pass the vision, written and road tests. Driver education is optional.
Driving safety advocates in Illinois — already considered one of the more restrictive teen driving states — say the new measure will help reduce traffic fatalities among a high-risk group that is largely ignored. Others contend the new law may matter little and could harm driver training schools…
The new law will take effect about six years after Illinois imposed some of the stronger teen driving laws in the U.S. Known as graduated driver licensing, or GDL, the system calls for new, teen drivers to carry a learners permit for nine months; acquire 50 hours of adult supervised, behind-the-wheel training; and accept limits on passengers and night driving.
Study after study find a close association between a decline in young-teen driving deaths and more restrictive teen driving laws. A 2006 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that states with the most restrictive GDL systems experienced a 21 percent drop in 16-year-old driver deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that those more comprehensive programs yielded a near-40 percent reduction in fatal and injury crashes among 16-year-old drivers.
Illinois’ experience has reflected those results. Since more stringent teen driving laws took effect in 2008, car crash deaths of 16- to 19-year olds in the state dropped to 58 in 2012, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports. IDOT figures show that total was 144 in the year before those restrictions.
The number of deaths among drivers who are 18, 19 and 20 also dropped by 30 percent, to 60, in the year the tougher GDL laws took effect on Jan. 1, 2008, according to IDOT figures.
Driver fatalities in that group dropped again, to 39 the next year, before spiking to 46 in 2010 and remaining at 35 deaths per year in 2011 and 2012.
Here are links to some news stories that I have seen over the past few days, most of which are updates to stories that I have already blogged about. If you are following me on twitter, you may have already seen these links:
The Illinois General Assembly is considering a bill (HB4299) which would decriminalize possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. Under the law, such an amount would be a fine only petty offense as opposed to a misdemeanor.
Here is the summary of the bill:
Amends the Cannabis Control Act. Provides that the knowing possession of not more than 10 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a petty offense with a fine not exceeding $100 (rather than a Class C or B misdemeanor). Provides that the knowing possession of more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a petty offense with a fine not exceeding $100 for a first offense (rather than a Class A misdemeanor) and a Class A misdemeanor for a subsequent offense (rather than a Class 4 felony). Provides that the knowing possession of more than 30 grams but not more than 500 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor (rather than a Class 4 felony). Provides that the knowing manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver, or manufacture of not more than 10 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a petty offense with a fine not to exceed $100 (rather than a Class B or A misdemeanor). Provides that the knowing manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver, or manufacture of more than 10 grams but nor more than 30 grams of any substance containing cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor (rather than a Class 4 felony). Provides that the production or possession of not more than 5 cannabis sativa plants is a petty offense with a fine not exceeding $100 (rather than a Class A misdemeanor). Provides that the production or possession of more than 5 but not more than 20 cannabis sativa plants is a Class A misdemeanor (rather than a Class 4 felony).
If this passes, it would necessitate a change in Illinois’ DUI laws, which make it a DUI if a person drives with any amount of cannabis in his or her blood or urine, regardless of impairment. In other words, currently a person could smoke marijuana and be charged with a DUI two weeks later, because traces of it are still in the person’s system.
Other states, like Colorado, have passed laws setting a “legal limit” at which point there is a presumption that a person is presumed impaired. This is not a perfect solution, because different people have different points of impairment, but it certainly is better than the “zero tolerance” law that Illinois has now and makes no sense.
Buzzfeed has a lengthy piece about Matt Cordle, the man who posted a YouTube video confessing to driving drunk and causing the death of Vincent Canzani. I have written about Cordle before (you can type “Cordle” in the search button above to find them, but the first and most detailed post was here).
Here is one key paragraph, but you should read the entire story:
It’s true the video was not solely for the message and Canzani. It was for Cordle’s benefit, too, at least mentally and emotionally. The video didn’t alleviate the guilt of taking another man’s life, but admitting his guilt in a public way enabled Cordle to grapple with and accept it. This was something active when everything since the crash had been suffocatingly passive.
Keith Cozart, the rap artist who goes by the name “Chief Keef” was arrested for DUI (cannabis) by Highland Park police on March 5th. This arrest occurred only a few months after he last appeared in court in Cook County for an aggravated speeding case and his attorneys presented the judge with proof that Cozart had completed a 90 in-patient rehabilitation drug treatment program. At that time, Cook County Judge Earl Hoffenberg told Keef that he would send him to jail if he failed another drug test.
Unfortunately for Cozart, he is now facing jail for violating his sentence in Cook County, as well as prison for the new DUI in Lake County. The DUI can be charged as a felony because Cozart allegedly had a suspended drivers license at the time of the DUI arrest. If so, he could face a possible sentence of anywhere from probation to three years in prison.