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Nothing but trouble

May 21, 2009 - Jim Anderson
Back in the early ’90s, Dan Aykroyd made a film, “Nothing but Trouble,” about a funhouse of horrors in a kangaroo court off the New Jersey turnpike.

I doubt I watched that strange movie to the end, but it sure left the impression that New Jersey is no place to visit with a bum tail light.

If you’re traveling this spring or summer, the National Motorists Association wants you to know that New Jersey, indeed, is the state most likely to find its way into your wallet.

“With its toll roads, roadblocks, and speed traps, New Jersey has left almost no stone unturned when it comes to extracting cash from motorists,” the group says in a news release issued in advance of the Memorial Day weekend.

Ohio, Maryland, Louisiana and New York round out the list of the worst five. Michigan ranks 15th while Illinois is the sixth-worst.

Wisconsin is 40th, placing it just out of the “best” 10. The best states are Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Kentucky.

The rankings were calculated using 17 criteria related to specific traffic laws, enforcement practices, and the treatment of traffic ticket defendants.

The National Motorists Association describes itself as a national drivers rights group.

“It is not exactly a well kept secret that many traffic laws, enforcement practices, and traffic courts are more about generating revenue and political posturing, than they are about traffic safety,” says its president, Jim Baxter.

The group wants fewer unmarked police cars and traffic cameras and more emphasis on reducing driver inattention, distraction and fatigue.

Its rankings, however, have more to do with motorists avoiding fines and tickets. For instance, among its 17 criteria are whether cell phone use is banned, whether radar detectors are banned and whether law enforcement can pull you over for neglecting to wear a seat belt.


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