Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Posts in "Autos"

September 15, 2014

A Cautionary Tale About The Difficulty of Bringing Anti-Texting Technology To Market

In case you missed it, the New York Times on Sunday had a detailed account by Matt Richtel (Twitter: @mrichtel) of an entrepreneur and engineer named Scott Tibbitts who has spent five years devising a technology called Groove to prevent texting while driving — and thus save the lives of pedestrians and others killed by texting drivers.

Tibbitts and his company, Katasi, worked with Sprint and with American Family Insurance to make his technology available.

The story is a cautionary tale about the difficulty of bringing new technology to market. One impediment that has kept Katasi’s potentially life-saving device off the market: the companies’ potential legal liability if the technology weren’t 100 percent effective in blocking every single text.

September 11, 2014

Transportation Policy Guru Poole Voices Skepticism About Vehicle-To-Vehicle Technology

Robert Poole, co-founder of the Reason Foundation, has worked on transportation policy for more than three decades and is an influential voice on tolling, congestion pricing and infrastructure finance.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology may some day allow cars to communicate with each other and with traffic infrastructure to avoid collisions.

Poole’s skepticism about this technology, which he explains in his monthly newsletter published this week, is worth reading.

Full story

As Grain Harvest Faces Freight Rail Backlog, Thune Asks Railroads To Bring In Help

Thune4 022504 218x335 As Grain Harvest Faces Freight Rail Backlog, Thune Asks Railroads To Bring In Help

Sen. John Thune, R- S.D.

Freight rail delays are hurting not only farmers trying to get their grain to market, but Minnesota taconite miners with inventories they can’t ship, according to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D- Minn., and apple and cherry marketers in Washington state, as Sen. Maria Cantwell, D- Wash., reported at Wednesday’s Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing which we reported on. Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 10:14 a.m.
Autos, Rail, Uncategorized

August 21, 2014

As North Carolina Prepares for New Tolls, Opponent Decries ‘Caste System’

Tolling may soon become a routine method of paying for new highway construction even in traditional non-toll states, and drivers may just have to get used to it.

But some drivers are waging a battle to prevent tolling on a congested 26-mile stretch of Interstate 77 in North Carolina.

Full story

August 13, 2014

Traffic Safety Officials Set Labor Day Crackdown on Driving While Impaired

madd rally001 092712 445x302 Traffic Safety Officials Set Labor Day Crackdown on Driving While Impaired

Barbara and Alan Weatherford of Gulfport, Miss., hold a picture of their daughter, Deanna Tucker, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2011. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Since 2004, all states have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 as the legal standard for driving while impaired.

But driving after drinking still imposes massive costs, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminded Americans Wednesday. With the Labor Day holiday two weeks away, NHTSA launched its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign along with local police officials. The enforcement crackdown runs from August 15 through the Labor Day weekend.

Full story

July 31, 2014

Driving While Stoned Risky, but No Federal Standard Yet

More stoned drivers on the road because of marijuana legalization could be a serious risk, at least according to some lawmakers.

At a hearing Thursday on driving and operating other vehicles while impaired by marijuana, House Subcommittee on Government Operations chairman Rep. John L. Mica, R- Fla., said “we’re going to have more people stoned on the highways and there will be consequences.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official Dr. Jeff Michael told the subcommittee that right now there’s too little data to devise a federal impairment standard. His agency is working with the state of Washington to assess the change in marijuana use by drivers before and after the state’s legalization of the drug.

Full story

July 21, 2014

Foxx Touts Bicycle Commuting and Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

In a wide-ranging appearance Monday at the National Press Club, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he’d figured out how to bicycle to his office, and he touted vehicle-to-vehicle communications for cars as a technology that will reduce accidents in the future.

But Foxx avoided substantive comment on two of the most pressing current issues: the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine last week, and a pending rule from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on rail shipment of volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota.

Full story

July 15, 2014

Big Money Riding on Question of Whether Decline in Vehicle Use Will Continue

452184694 web 445x289 Big Money Riding on Question of Whether Decline in Vehicle Use Will Continue

President Barack Obama drives a simulator of a high-tech car as he tours the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., today.

Vehicle miles traveled per licensed driver peaked in the United States in 2007.

Since then, there has been a 0.5 percent annual decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per licensed driver, according to Trisha Hutchins of the Energy Information Administration.

A lot is riding on the question of whether the trend will continue in the decades ahead.

Full story

July 14, 2014

Your Gasoline Prices Are Too Low, International Energy Agency Chief Tells Americans

The head of the International Energy Agency chided the United States on Monday for having gasoline prices that are, in her view, too low.

Speaking at the conference of the U.S. Energy Information Administration in Washington, Maria van der Hoeven, a former Dutch minister of economic affairs, brought up the price of U.S. gasoline in the context of fuel subsidies in countries such as Egypt, Indonesia, and the North African nations.

Full story

July 8, 2014

Tollbooth Scofflaws Have Become Multimillion-Dollar Headaches

490534117 web 445x296 Tollbooth Scofflaws Have Become Multimillion Dollar Headaches

President Barack Obama speaks at the Tappan Zee Bridge in May. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Human toll collectors are becoming a vanishing breed as states and highway authorities increasingly move to all-electronic tolling, or AET. But the new technology comes with its own costs.

Full story

July 1, 2014

In Run-Up to Fourth of July, Fuel Prices Highest Since 2008 Surge

regulargasolinechart 445x333 In Run Up to Fourth of July, Fuel Prices Highest Since 2008 Surge

Gasoline prices are on average about 20 cents higher than a year ago at this time and higher than they have been in six years, according to data released by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.

Full story

June 26, 2014

Prospects for Highway Trust Fund Deal Brighter After Wyden Alters Revenue Package

After a sour reaction from Republicans to Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden’s first proposal to bolster the Highway Trust Fund, prospects for a deal looked better Thursday after the Oregon Democrat offered a modified plan that dropped his idea of raising heavy vehicle use taxes by $1.3 billion.

Wyden’s revised plan also added a provision that would shift to the highway trust fund $750 million from a fund intended to deal with leaking underground fuel tanks, CQ’s Joanna Anderson reported.

Full story

Tech Evangelists Hit the Hill to Showcase Transportation Inventions

Cars talking to nearby cars to avert accidents, cars sending collision avoidance warnings to pedestrians’ cell phones, and traffic signals adjusting their sequencing in real time to respond to surges in bicycle traffic — those were a few of the technology-enabled ideas displayed at Wednesday night’s Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) showcase at the Cannon House Office Building.

Full story

June 24, 2014

Bill Shuster: Generational Shift Will Smooth Acceptance of Driverless Cars

House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster touted the virtues of driverless vehicles Tuesday morning in front of the Capitol, offering fellow House members rides in Carnegie Mellon University’s prototype autonomous car.

Although not commenting on attempts to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, Shuster promised that “we’re going to do a long-term surface transportation bill here in the near future” and that bill, he said, must include a title dealing with innovation and technology.

Full story

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