Newsbites and Updates
Coming to a Freeway Near You: A few months ago, the Garberville CHP office submitted a request to Sacramento to have more of its cars equipped with radar, and for clearance to deploy radar anywhere along Highway 101 within the jurisdiction of that office, four-lane as well as two. Bureaucratic requests of this sort are often formalities which actually originate with the headquarters office (which may have extra funds in hand and is always interested in expanding the scope of departmental action). If this is what's happening in this case, the "request" will obviously be granted.
The statistical justification for souping up enforcement on the four-lane segments is peculiar: First it's stated that on average 14 people a year are being killed in traffic collisions in the Garberville area, then a table is presented of speed-related accidents over four years along the freeway sections to be nuked -- it shows that the fatality contribution of excessive speed on those roads has averaged 1.5 per year.
(Also worth noting is that when the Northern S.T.A.R. safety program was announced 15 months ago, its publicists took pains to make the point that increased off-highway enforcement would be their emphasis, on the grounds that that's where the accidents were occurring.)
By the way, the April and May 1997 issues of Car and Driver magazine carried extensive evaluations of some good radar detectors...
Just Say "No" to Dissent: A west Texas lawyer, incensed at the road-stop behavior of police associated with a local drug task force along I-20, put up a sign on his property near that highway, reading "Just Say NO to Searches" and listing a contact phone number.
Along with a number of calls to the information line, he got another response; within four days the Texas Dept. of Transportation wrote him telling him that if he didn't take it down he was subject to fines of up to $1000 per day for displaying an unlicensed billboard. Since there are other, commercial, unlicensed signs and billboards in the same area -- some of which have been unmolested for years -- lawyer Pat Barber suspects there may be something about the content of his sign that upsets authorities.