Comprehensive, "cradle to grave" studies of electric versus gas and diesel-powered cars show that electric vehicles are better for the environment. As the technology gains acceptance, electric vehicles will likely become better and cheaper. More electric cars on the road means a number of benefits, but it is not without challenges.
July 2014 Archives
Few would argue that the public school system in Newark, New Jersey, is fine the way it is. Change is clearly needed in the largest public school system in the state. The schools in the town of 277,000 residents regularly rank among the lowest performing in New Jersey. The need for change does not, however, justify a new system if it discriminates against black students.
"Or . . . pigs are never satisfied till they eat everything in sight."
And by "pigs," I mean greedy employers who sense that the time is right to continue to push nervous courts (nervous about not being reappointed by a governor who meddles by intimidating the third branch of government and threatening non-appointment with those he doesn't agree with) to further limit workers' rights.
A New Jersey police officer and Marine Corps veteran was killed this week when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer. The truck reportedly made no effort to stop before rear-ending the parked police vehicle on the shoulder of Route 17 in the early morning hours. The officer was operating radar, looking to catch speeders, on the side of the road. The 32-year-old officer was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
An ignition interlock device forces a driver to blow into a machine similar to a breathalyzer before starting the car. If the driver has alcohol on his or her breath, the car's ignition will not work. These devices are intended to help prevent drunk driving deaths as evidence has shown that a person who is convicted of DUI faces a high probability of driving drunk again.
In 2013, the federal rules regarding hours of service for interstate truck and bus drivers changed. The maximum workweek was reduced from 82 hours to 70 hours. In addition, the rest needed to "restart" a week was set at 34 hours which must include two consecutive periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The justification for that last change was studies showing the importance of nighttime rest in preventing fatigue. It's true that the government can't force truck and bus drivers to get enough sleep. They can, however, see the toll taken by tired drivers and do what they can to encourage drivers to get adequate rest.
New Jersey law prohibits the use of handheld cellular phones while driving. Anyone caught talking or texting on a handheld cell phone while driving faces a fine. As of this month, the fines issued for this form of distracted driving have a little more bite to them. A first time offense of handheld cell phone use behind the wheel will net a fine between $200 and $400. Second-time offenders can be fined $400 to $600. Every offense beyond the second can be penalized with a $600 to $800 fine, as well as suspension of your driver's license for 90 days and three points off your license. It remains to be seen whether the increase in fines will encourage greater enforcement of the distracted driving law.