Count this one as a big victory for motorists. A Florida man has won his First Amendment case against the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, who wrongfully ticketed him for flashing his lights to warn other drivers of a speed trap. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a Circuit Court judge not only said that the deputy who ticketed Ryan Kintner had misapplied a state law banning aftermarket flashing emergency lights, but also ruled that flashing your lights to communicate with other drivers qualifies as constitutionally protected speech.
But this victory for Kintner is just a stepping stone towards a larger case. According to the report, his attorney has filed a class action lawsuit that charges the Florida Highway Patrol with willfully violating a 2005 court order prohibiting the police from ticketing motorists for flashing their brights. The report says that case has a hearing scheduled for next month, so this is certainly not the last we’ll hear on the issue.
A Florida resident’s choice of “NOTAG” on her vanity plate has earned her $8,000 in parking tickets. Apparently, “NO TAG” is what gets written on a citation when an illegally parked car has no plate. Soon after installing her plate, Carol Schroeder received notice of 135 overdue parking tickets worth almost $8,000. The tickets were written for several different makes and models, and some written before her car was even manufactured.
Funny little mistake. Right? Not to the city of Jacksonville, which says the owner of the car owes the money and the city’s collection agency agrees. Surely someone will come their senses and make the situation right. A few years ago, a man in Huntsville, Ala. received a notice that he owed $19,000 in overdue parking fees for a city he’d only been to once. His vanity tag, “XXXXXXX” is the exact thing Birmingham, Ala. cops write on citations for cars without plates. One Birmingham official he contacted said not to worry about it because they were broke and couldn’t afford to arrest him anyway.
Would you pay $500 for a chicken dinner you had to eat in your car? That’s just what an Ottawa, Canada man ended up paying earlier this month when police pulled him over and ticketed the greasy-fingered Canuck for attempting to eat an entire rotisserie chicken while driving. Ontario police pulled the 58-year old driver over after observing him weaving all over the road as he was clearly reaching down for something on the seat. The police also reported he was driving with his knees. For all that we hear about the dangers of texting while driving, statistics show that drivers, including Americans, are far more frequently distracted by eating while driving than by smartphone use.
According to a PEMCO Insurance poll, eating was the distraction that drivers cop to the most — 65%. Fifty-eight percent said they talk on a cellphone while driving. Six-percent admitted to reading a magazine or book while driving, and we aren’t talking audio books!
SmartDrive Systems, a company that conducts research and training for companies that operate large fleets of vehicles, also reports that consuming food and beverages far out-paces cell-phone use as a distraction based on examining data from 34 million risky driving incidents.
Former President George H.W Bush tacitly joined President Obama in support of the Chevrolet Volt last week when he bought one of the plug-in hybrid cars as a birthday present for his son Neil. A new study from Strategic Vision indicates that the kind of car someone drives can be a strong indicator of political party affiliation. In a poll of more than 76,000 customers, the marketing consulting firm found that 69 percent of those who purchased a convertible worth less than $30,000 identified themselves as Republicans, outnumbering Democrats who accounted for just 18 percent of drop-top purchases. In contrast, Democrats made up 49 percent of small station wagon purchases compared to 24 percent for Republicans.
Medium and large truck buyers also skewed heavily toward the Party of Lincoln, with the split for large SUV purchases being 76 percent Republican to 5 percent Democrat, while Democrats preferred small cars and SUVs at rates of 35 percent to 26 percent and 34 percent to 32 percent, respectively.
As far as luxury cars are concerned, Republicans in the survey preferred sedans at a rate of 49 percent to 27 percent over Democrats, who chose luxury wagons and hatchbacks 37 percent of the time compared to 30 percent for Republicans.
The one segment where both parties are in agreement is mid-size cars, like theToyota Camry and Ford Fusion, with 34 percent of sales going to each.
As for favorite models, the five cars with the highest percentage of Republican owners are the Ford Mustang Convertible, Audi A8 luxury sedan, Mercedes GL full-size luxury SUV, Ford Expedition full-size SUV and Ford F-150 pickup, while Democrats make up the majority of owners of the Honda Civic Hybrid, Volvo C30 compact, Nissan Leaf electric car, Acura TSX Wagon and Ford Fiesta subcompact sedan.
Witnesses told reporters outside the Epic Hotel in Downtown Miami that the Maserati was leaving a parking garage ramp going too fast, when the driver lost control and literally drove his luxury car underneath a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
It didn’t stop there. The collision of the vehicles then spilled over onto a neighboring Porsche and Mini Cooper Countryman. No one was injured, but the damage could be around $400,000. But the pictures? Priceless.
Delaware may be joining Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington and other states in cracking down on drivers who use the left lane for more than passing. A bill in the Delaware legislature would institute fines of up to $230 for drivers who camp out in the left lane on roads with at least two lanes in each direction, according to USA Today.
Delaware’s current law requires drivers to keep right only when going slower that the flow of traffic, according to the report. The new measure would resemble nearby New Jersey’s law – the Garden State currently fines left lane dawdlers up to $200, though a recent proposal would raise that to $300.
The Delaware bill is supported by AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Delaware Police Chiefs Council. Do you think ALL states should crack down more on highway lane discipline?
Acura issued an apology after TMZ revealed that the casting sheet for its Jerry Seinfeld Super Bowl ad specified an African-American actor who was “not too dark” to play the car dealer. In the ad, stars and car buffs Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno argue over who’ll get to buy the first production version of Acura’s NSX supercar concept. TMZ obtained and posted the audition notice for the African-American car dealer role. In it, the casting agency sought an actor who was “Nice looking friendly. Not too dark.” Seeking an explanation, TMZ wrote that “someone associated with casting the commercial” told the site that a reason for the restriction was because “lighting and special effects would get tricky.” It was Acura’s first-ever Super Bowl ad and was created for Acura by its ad agency, Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA. It was considered a success for the brand, but Acura found itself having to issue this statement:
We apologize to anyone offended by the language on the casting sheet used in the selection of actors for one of our commercials. We sought to cast an African-American in a prominent role in the commercial, and we made our selection based on the fact that he was the most talented actor. The casting sheet was only now brought to our attention. We are taking appropriate measures to ensure that such language is not used again in association with any work performed on behalf of our brand.
A new 2013 BMW M5 being driven at speeds of up to 186 mph on the A81 autobahn in Germany has suffered a violent crash.
The 60-year-old driver reportedly lost control of the car when he swerved to avoid another vehicle that was merging with traffic erratically. The M5 eventually hit a central divider before shooting across the stretch of autobahn and flipping several times and landing on a patch of grass. The impact of the crash was so severe that components, including a wheel and attached damper, were flung many feet away from the car.
According to a news summary picked up by BimmerPost, the crash occurred late on Tuesday. The summary also stated that the driver plus a 20-year-old passenger and a dog managed to survive, without serious injury.
Following the M5 were an M6 and an M3 being driven by the driver’s sons. They were able to put out a fire that started in the M5’s engine bay following the crash. The driver of the car that was reportedly merging with traffic erratically failed to stop.