Niagara Gazette

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April 4, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Notes from the America's Car Show newsroom

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Subaru recall

Subaru has announced the recall of nearly 50,000 vehicles in the US due to an unusual electrical fault that could cause a car to start all on its own. The recall covers Legacy, Outback, Impreza and Crosstrek vehicles from the 2010-2013 model years. Subaru says the key fob that controls its Audiovox remote engine starter could malfunction if dropped, causing a vehicle to start without any human intervention. If the fault occurs, the vehicle may start and run for up to 15 minutes. Subaru says that loop will continue until either the key fob’s battery is drained or the vehicle runs out of gas. Although mostly a threat to a costly tank of fuel, the National Highway Traffic safety Administration warns that if the vehicle is parked in a closed area the exhaust fumes could cause asphyxiation. Subaru will remedy the problem by replacing the key fob for all 47,419 vehicles covered by the recall. Subaru expects to begin the recall by the end of next month.

Ohio judge calls speed cameras a “scam”

In what could prove to be a landmark case for drivers across the United States, an Ohio judge has ruled that speed cameras used in a Cincinnati-area village violated the state’s constitution. Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman put a stop to Elmwood Place’s speed camera “scam” that was generating $326,250 per month for the village of 2,200 people. Judge Ruehlman ruled that Elmwood Place’s speed camera enforcement didn’t provide drivers with the necessary due process afforded by state law. “Elmwood Place in engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-card Monty [sic],” Judge Ruehlman wrote.

Judge Ruehlman took issue with Elmwood Place’s oversight (or rather lack thereof) of the speed camera system. Rather of being controlled by the village’s police force, the entire speed camera operation, from ticketing to calibration, was handled by Maryland-based Optotraffic LLC. For its troubles, Optotraffic pocketed $42 or 40 percent of every $105 ticket its system doled out. Judge Ruehlman also took issue with process of contesting a camera-issued speeding ticket in Elmwood Place.

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Columns
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