Archive for the 'Legal' Category

Link of the week: MB SL drivers, count your tickets!

Monday, October 25th, 2010

SL 65 AMG Black Series (R230) 2008

The LA Times recently posted an article about the cars most and least likely to be pulled over. The winner? The Mercedes-Benz SL-class is 4.04 times more likely to get you a speeding tickets versus the average. Unsurprisingly, a Buick model was least likely to be ticketed.

On point: tow trucks under the guise of the government

Thursday, August 26th, 2010
Jalopnik has recently posted a seemingly innocuous story about a Nissan GT-R being towed in New York City. The publication surmises that the the NYPD are improperly towing the disclosed Nissan, and thus stand to cause thousands of dollars in damage to the vehicle and drivetrain.
After consider we argue that the towing company does have an ethical and legal responsibility to tow properly. If they can’t or won’t, then they shouldn’t be towing in the first place. To be considerate, it would not hurt for all tow truck drivers to have a flat bed. Not sure why that isn’t always the case.

Either way, we can’t expect people to respect the police, if the police don’t respect people and their property. Understandably, a person may be accused of a violation, but this is subject to judicial interpretation. Until convicted, and there is no reason to do anything but secure the vehicle, UNLESS it is inhibiting traffic. In such a case, the government should take the responsible action to ensure that an individual’s property (whether owned by the individual or a leasing company/bank) is respected not just to the letter of the law, but to the spirit as well.

Amen! And the cameras hath gone…

Friday, May 28th, 2010


Well, it seemed only a matter of time. Web sites, protests, and even a murder later, Arizona has finally cancelled the speed camera contract with Redflex out of Australia. The murder was a tragedy, to be sure, but the cause wasn’t entirely routed in the brain of a psychotic (though perhaps that could have been the cause). In fact, the man accused of the murder was a 68-year-old Phoenix resident.

The speed camera contract was a pet project of former Governor Janet Napolitano (now tasked with running the nation’s security), which undoubtedly hoped to both increase public safety and raise funds for the state. On both accounts, it failed. At best, the program did little to educate the drivers of the state, and at worse, it stole funds directly from their pockets.

Legislators should heed the result as a warning that implementation of automated traffic enforcement systems ought come with a direct vote of the people, just as the people might vote to raise taxes (which the program arguably was doing) or legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.

What’s that line, a government by the people…


European investment in green cars is all the rage!

Thursday, April 16th, 2009


Mercedes E-class BlueTec Hybrid

Mercedes E-class BlueTec Hybrid



Without a doubt, the EU has become the leader in improving the pollution problem for the automotive sector. Recently the U.S. put in a 27.3 mpg average fleet requirement for 2011. Please see: for the latest information and the impact analysis. But is the change enough to get us on the right track? How exactly do carmakers implement changes in their fleet to address the higher requirements?

The European Union defines specific emissions targets for the following 5 years as the following:


Traffic camera fraud in Italy: is the U.S. next?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009


Are cameras proper enforcement?

Are cameras proper enforcement?



Late last month, the BBC’s Rome correspondent Duncan Kennedy wrote an article outlining what is the most egregious violation of traffic enforcement civil liberties to date. 

The BBC reports that over 100 police and law enforcement officers are being investigated in response to a senior officer’s discovered that traffic ticket issuances were suddenly increased from an average of 15 fines per day to over 1000. 

BBC reports that some US$170,000,000 may have been gained by those involved, include the enforcement company, T-Redspeed, which gained the contracts because it employs a technology that allows 3-dimensional photography of potential traffic violators. At least one person has been arrested in connection with the fraud.

That so many benefited from this fraud should make all of the driving public, law enforcement, and public officials seriously call into question the integrity of the photo traffic enforcement process. If the public in a small country as Italy can be defrauded to the tune of US$170million, imagine the amount German, or Britons, or even Americans could be defrauded.

The first step to gaining public confidence is to provide absolute transparency in the enforcement of traffic cameras. Public scrutiny must be upheld.



LOTW: Find the speed traps!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009


If you have been caught in a speed trap, one of the technology solutions might be to use Trapster. Trapster pegs themselves as the “Speed Trap Sharing System”.

The system works pretty well. Just sign up and download the application for your iPhone, BlackBerry, or other smartphone. You can then track the speed traps using the GPS on the phone.

Good luck and beat those tickets!

For more information, go to

LOTW: California’s hydrogen highway

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Of all of the people you might expect to ignore environmental concerns, a Humvee-driving Republican governor must rank fairly high on the list.

Without a doubt, he is the governor who best knows that environmental concerns rank near the top of priorities for his constituency.

This article comes on the heals of the Obama administration’s move to allow the states more leeway in how they pass and apply laws as they pertain to automakers’ emissions. This could pave way for more fuel efficient vehicles, including some that run on renewable fuels, such as hydrogen.

For more information on hydrogen cars, check out these links:

For more on the Honda Clarity, the only known hydrogen vehicle actively being sold by a major automaker, click here.

Porsche congestion follow-up

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Last week, Porsche and Boris Johnson’s London government announced that the £25/per day congestion charge that the the previous London government, headed by Ken Livingstone, has sought to impose would be overturned. A judicial review concluded that critical evidence suggested that the enormous charges, more than three times what is currently in place, would actually do more environmental damage, rather than less.

Porsche on congestion charge: the right move

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Now with direct injection and PDK for increased fuel economy!

There are three reasons that Porsche is concerned about London’s impending congestion charge. First the people don’t want it, second it affects the sales of Porsches, and because it unfairly punishes the people by raising money for the city of London through a sort of taxation without direct representation, and is therefore unlawful.

Another observation: Porsche is by no means the carmaker in European Union with the lower overall emissions, but let’s look at the numbers…

The 911 has a 3.6 liter H-6 engine this base Carrera has a combined cycle of 25.7 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 266g/km. The car also costs $73,000 US, or £61,620.

The 2.7 liter H-6 Boxster engine costs $46,000 US or £33,375. It however with it’s smaller engine gets a very reasonable 29.7 mpg on the combined cycle with 227 g/km of CO2 emissions. The 3.4 liter version of that engine produces just 254 g/km. These three models are sports cars. Competitor Ferrari on the other hand produces a V8 engine in the F430, which has output of 420 g/km – quite a lot- and gets only 15.4 miles per gallon. The V12 599 GTB that Ferrari makes produces 490 g/km and drinks a gallon in 13.2 miles.

A Call for an End to Police Pursuits

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Lambo Police Car

It happened right in our backyard. An unfortunate event transpired last week, when a 24-year-old Phoenix man was killed in a head-on collision. But what makes this story so unique was that he was killed by a man suspected of robbing a local Bank of America. The suspect himself was being actively pursued by local police. Speeds reached up to 100 miles per hour (160 KM/hour) before the suspect crashed into a civilian. The chase ran through several Phoenix metro neighborhoods and due to its high speeds and busy streets put dozens of civilians lives at risk.


The British Nanny State and the Government’s Confusion About the Speed Freak

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Speeding is now the most common offence on the UK’s roads, according to government figures. In recent years it has made up more than one third of all driving offences dealt with by police in England and Wales.
Part of the reason for this could be that the UK is the speed-camera capital of Europe, according to recent figures given to MPs. Numbers have risen from 1,935 in 2000 to just over 5,500 this year (DfT (UK)).

In last week’s edition of, we covered the sordid story of a Mini/BMW executive who was recently given a stiff sentence by the British courts for driving 100+MPH (162.5 KM/hour) in a 50 zone. We cover the topic of speeding in Britain a little more in depth here at BTKM!
30 MPH Speed Limit Sign

Tough Sentence for Porsche Speedster

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

The AP reported today that Briton Tim Brady will be jailed for 10 weeks as a result of his conviction for speeding in a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo – at 276 KM/hour (172 MPH). The record set by Brady for highest recorded speed on a British motorway beats the old record of 251 KM/hour set by car dealer Jason McAllister in 2003.

911 Turbo with Picture of British Speeder on the inset

Judge David Morton called the act “criminally self-indulgent.”


Benefits of a Limitless Highway

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Of all the senseless laws, speeding may be one of them. Still, it is a legal reality, and speeding is a social norm, worldwide. When we saw this article about a driver caught speeding at 172 m.p.h. in a Porsche Turbo, we couldn’t help but smile. Nice ride, nice speed. See the article here: BBC News.

The reason we analyse the story in this edition of BeyondTheKM isn’t because we are jealous (we are), rather the analysis to be made is the correlation to automotive advancement and the speed limit.

Point one: speed kills. A legal argument that is commonly made by legislators is that increasing speed limits increases the number of deaths related to speed. We have never seen irrefutable studies to this point, but we have to concede that driving, in general and at any speed, can kill. We can generally assume that a positive correlation exists between the increased speed and increased deadly accidents. It is also true that despite increased speed limits over the years, cars have gotten safer and deaths from speed is not correlated to that increase in some cases from 55 mph to 75 mph in many US states.

Point two: countries with high speed limits or none at all have a competitive business advantage. Talk to any Japanese GT race car driver and they will argue that Japan which has a lower average speed limit than Germany is slower to develop new car technologies related to performance and handling than their German counterparts. The anecdotal argument is simple. In a country with roads where people can travel 300 KM per hour, people will travel that, even at the risk of spending a little bit more on petrol. At those speeds, drivers must be better trained (a solution for legislators everywhere) and car companies must produce better cars.

We think that the advantages in handling, performance, and technology that Germans have over Asian and American counterparts give them an advantage in the marketplace. This is the reason why buyers will pay so much for BMW M, Audi S, and AMG series vehicles. Cars are better built, stiffer, have better engines and brakes because consumers demand to drive 300 KPH. Simple as that.

Lexus has recently launched an AMG division of it’s own called the F series. It seems that while decades behind the Germans, the Japanese are finally getting the hint. Speed may kill, but it also pays.