Government

Electric cars: New vehicles to emit noise to aid safety

New electric vehicles will have to feature a noise-emitting device, under an EU rule coming into force on Monday. It follows concerns that low-emission cars and vans are too quiet, putting pedestrians at risk because they cannot be heard as they approach. All new types of four-wheel electric vehicle must be fitted with the device, which sounds like a traditional engine. A car’s acoustic vehicle alert system (Avas) must sound when reversing or travelling below 12mph (19km/h). The EU says the cars are most likely to be near pedestrians when they are backing up or driving slowly, although drivers will have the power to deactivate the devices if they think it is necessary. The charity Guide Dogs – which had complained it was difficult to hear low-emission cars approaching – welcomed the change, but said electric vehicles should make a sound at all speeds. Roads minister Michael Ellis said the government wanted “the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone” and understood the concerns of the visually impaired. “This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road,” he added. From 2021 all new electric cars must have an Avas, not just new models. The government has announced plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars and vans being sold by 2040. Alternatively-fuelled vehicles made up 6.6% of the new car market in May, compared with 5.6% during the same month in 2018. Does this throw a major wrench into loud bike laws. Remember “Loud Pipes Saves Lives” and the auto industry proved it.–Bandit

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California State Parks OHV grants and cooperative agreements program

California State Parks OHV grants and cooperative agreements program seeking public comments – AMA Action Alert The American Motorcyclist Association believes you may be interested in providing input to the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. This period provides an opportunity for the public to review and provide factual comments to the preliminary applications submitted for consideration during the 2018/19 grant cycle. To review and comment visit olga.ohv.parks.ca.gov/egrams_ohmvr/user/home.aspx for more information. The public review and comment period the began on Tuesday, March 5, and ends at 5 p.m. Monday, May 6. You may also submit your public comments in writing to the OHMVR Division at the address below. California State Parks OHMVR Division 1725 23rd St., Sacramento, CA 95816 Attention: Grants Manager If you are not yet an AMA member, please join the AMA to help us fight efforts to restrict responsible motorized recreation. More members means more clout against our opponents, and your support will help us fight for your riding rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com/membership/join. Please follow the AMA on Twitter @AMA_Rights and like us on Facebook. Thank you in advance for your interest in this important program. If you submit written comments please email a copy to the AMA at grassroots@ama-cycle.org.

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2019 federal spending package increases infrastructure funding

It took a while, but a 2019 spending package was finally approved by Congress, signed by President Trump, and enacted February 15. In addition to the $1.375 billion for southwest border barriers, the package also includes full-year 2019 funding levels for important federal infrastructure programs, including the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Engineering News-Record reports. The 2019 package is the second year of a two-year, bipartisan House-Senate budget deal that included a pledge to raise overall federal infrastructure spending by $20 billion over 2017 levels. It sets the federal-aid highway obligation ceiling at $45.3 billion, up $1 billion, or 2 percent, from 2018 and equal to the amount authorized in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which comes from the Highway Trust Fund. The legislation also contains $3.25 billion more from the general fund for highways, up from $2.525 billion in 2018. A 2019 “bonus” amount includes $2.73 billion for states, up from $1.98 billion in 2018, and $475 million for bridge replacement and rehabilitation, more than double the 2018 amount. Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants received $900 million for 2019, down 40 percent from 2018, but it was not discontinued as President Trump suggested. The program was originally called Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER. The Federal Transit Administration will receive $13.4 billion for 2019, down $67 million from 2018, with transit formula grants getting $9.9 billion and capital investment grants receiving $2.5 billion, down from $2.6 billion in 2018. An additional $700 million, down from $834 million in 2018, goes for transit infrastructure grants, which include bus facilities and “state of good repair” projects. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program was frozen at 2018’s $3.35 billion, an amount that comes from the Airport and

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An Eye on Recent Motorist Rights Court Cases

FROM National Motorists Association https://www.motorists.org Motorist rights cases have made news and even history recently. There have been so many as of late, we are dedicating two separate newsletters to provide some insight on the legal rulings that are affecting drivers around the country. This week’s newsletter focuses on recent rulings and pending US Supreme Court and federal court cases. Part 2 next week will outline state court decisions. TheNewspaper.com, featured prominently in these two newsletters, is a great supplement to the NMA’s Motorists.org site for the latest news and opinions on the politics of driving. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Last week’s unanimous decision that curtails excessive government fines and property seizures has provided further impetus for one of the NMA’s primary lobbying initiatives: civil asset forfeiture (CAF) reform. The decision received broad bipartisan praise. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the ruling that the excessive fines clause is a fundamental restriction that applies to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the SCOTUS decision is monumental, the fight is far from over. Some states still allow the seizure of property from citizens — motorists are prime targets — who have never been charged with a crime. Our work for reform at the federal and state levels continues in earnest. Additionally, SCOTUS accepted a case in January that will decide whether an unconscious drunk person has given implied consent for a blood draw to determine alcohol level. The case might resolve an important constitutional question: Can state legislatures obviate the warrant requirement by “deeming” that citizens can consent to Fourth Amendment searches without explicitly expressing that consent? Federal Appeals Court Cases Judges for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in late January that a person driving a registered vehicle on a public road

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