The Minnesota state police don’t deny that they see coffee-drinking behind the wheel as something that might constitute prohibited distracted driving, but deny Lindsay Krieger’s claim that that was why she was pulled over on Interstate 94 in St. Paul. A spokeswoman says an officer stopped and ticketed Krieger (not her first time) for driving without a seat belt, and the coffee lecture was in the nature of an added warning. Krieger was once “busted in Eagan…for eating Cheerios out of a cup while waiting in line to make a turn.” [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, FindLaw]
…and miss the more significant role of former Bloomberg health czar Thomas Frieden at the Centers for Disease Control. The Blaze covers my remarks yesterday at a Heritage panel discussion on food freedom.
More: At Independent Women’s Forum, Julie Gunlock thinks I’m letting the First Lady off the hook a bit too much.
- Driver’s license suspensions, which many states use to punish unpaid court debt and other offenses unrelated to driving skill, can accelerate spiral into indigency [New York Times]
- Your war on distracted driving: woman says she received $200 ticket “for putting on lip balm at a red light.” [KLAS Las Vegas, Nev.]
- “Of Course We Have No Ticket Quotas, But ….” [Lowering the Bar; Edmundson, Mo., in St. Louis County; Mariah Stewart, Huffington Post on revenue generation in Berkeley, Mo., and other neighboring towns; Scott Greenfield (“Ferguson: Where Everyone’s a Criminal”)]
- Yet more on St. Louis County: it started with a “defective muffler” stop in Florissant [Riverfront Times]
- NYC: “Speed cameras lead to surge in tickets and $16.9M in revenue for city” [NY Daily News]
- New Los Angeles parking signs explain it all for you, also recall design of craps table [Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing]
- Virginia: “How Police Drones and License-Plate Readers Threaten Liberty” [A. Barton Hinkle; related, Jim Harper/D.C. Examiner]
- As we warned at the time: Food Safety Modernization Act shaping up as severe burden for many small, local and artisanal producers [Tom Philpott, Mother Jones via Tim Carney, Dave Runsten and Brian Snyder, CivilEats]
- Bloomberg’s City Hall wants to keep secret the inputs to its food-scold policies. Open up, says Keep Food Legal [Reason]
- More coverage of Heritage food freedom panel I was on [Sihan Zhang, Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, Joe Daly/Accuracy in Academia, earlier]
- How shipping unions sunk food aid reform [Center for Public Integrity]
- California enacts a strong cottage food law, but needs to work on farmers’ markets [Baylen Linnekin; related on Texas]
- Law and public health profs inveigh against “Mountain Dew Mouth,” but is it a real thing? [Reason, Bill of Health, Andrew Sullivan]
- Canada’s OPEC-like maple syrup cartel fights thieves and legitimate competition alike [Lowering the Bar]
“In a case of first impression, a New Jersey appeals court has held that a remote texter can be held liable to third parties for injuries caused when the distracted driver has an accident,” if the third party has reason to know that the text will be read while driving. The court upheld a lower court ruling finding that not enough proof of such knowledge had been offered to defeat a motion for summary judgment. [ABA Journal, earlier here and here; related, Stoll] A different view: Eugene Volokh.
- Abuse of out-of-state motorists an issue: “The Perils of Policing for Profit: Why Tennessee should reform its civil asset forfeiture laws” [Beacon Center, earlier]
- Manhattan: “Lawyer takes plea in $279M no-fault auto insurance fraud case” [ABA Journal]
- “AAA Warns of ‘Dangerous’ Free Market in Parking Spaces” [Matt Yglesias, Slate via Tim Carney]
- Negotiated rates on auto loans at dealerships might violate Obama administration’s disparate-impact guidelines [Roger Clegg]
- Not great for Law dot com’s credibility: Corp Counsel mag throws in with “sudden acceleration” goofery; and here’s an effort to gear up acceleration claims against Ford too.
- Ethanol group menaces Phillips with antitrust charge unless it alters franchiser rule [Alexander Cohen, Atlas]
- “Two researchers call for installing technology to disable cellphones in moving cars” [L.A.Times via Fair Warning]
- “Middle Schooler Forced To Take Drug Test To Join Scrapbooking Club.”
- Following uproar against anti-Islam video, various law professors propose shrinking scope of First Amendment to permit punishing speech that gives offense;
- Oglala Sioux lawsuit over nearby beer sales impresses NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof, but fails to impress federal judge.
- California hospital agrees to pay $975,000 to settle lawsuit over safety-related policy requiring employees to converse in English;
- Feds’ scheme: have cops enforce “distracted driving” laws by peering down into cars from overpasses.
- “The curb disrupted the motion of plaintiff’s foot.” Naughty curb!
Politico quotes me on the latest harebrained idea from the U.S. Department of Transportation, known for Secretary Ray LaHood’s crusade against “distracted driving”:
Olson called the idea that law enforcement would be focused on using spotters perched atop overpasses “creepy” and suggested it turns police officers into “peeping toms.”
“We drive under [overpasses], so it’s not a perfect expectation of privacy; but if we saw someone staring down and hoping to look into our laps, we’d think of them as creepy,” Olson said.
Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which has been out front of the effort to curb distracted driving, scoffed at the notion that there is any expectation of privacy in a car.
Earlier here, etc.
The federal government should keep its busy hands off local traffic laws — and that goes for bribing states to its will, as well as issuing direct orders. Today the House will debate a measure that would make that point by cutting off a fledgling program that would pay states for doing what “distracted driving” crusader and DoT secretary Ray LaHood lacks the constitutional authority or political capital to do directly. I explain in my new post at Cato at Liberty.