Lawmakers back ban on motorcycle-only checkpoints, support crash prevention efforts
May 26, 2011
Federal lawmakers have sent a bipartisan letter to the leadership of a key U.S. House committee to urge support for a bill that prohibits federal funding for motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
The lawmakers are also urging support for a measure to retain a ban on lobbying at the state level by a federal traffic safety agency.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues sent the letter on May 25 to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as to the panel's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
The letter asks the panels to include H.R. 904 and H.Res. 239 in the surface transportation reauthorization bill now being considered by Congress.
H.R. 904 would prohibit the U.S. Transportation Secretary from providing grants or any funds to a state or local government to be used for programs to check helmet usage or to create motorcycle-only checkpoints.
H.Res. 239 would support efforts to retain a ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) ability to lobby state legislators using federal tax dollars and urges the agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education and training.
"These important pieces of legislation would ensure that the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA focus on proven methods of motorcycle safety," the letter said. "NHTSA's Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration Program has not proven to be an effective use of taxpayer dollars.
"Through this program, the state of Georgia was provided a $70,000 grant to create motorcycle-only checkpoints to inspect rider compliance with DOT-compliant helmet regulations," the letter said. "The checkpoints are not a proven method of ensuring motorcyclist safety, and have certainly not been an effective use of limited federal taxpayer dollars.
"We take motorcycle safety seriously and want NHTSA to focus its safety efforts on proven lifesaving methods," the letter said. "Including H.R. 904 and H.Res. 239 in the surface transportation reauthorization bill would set the record straight, that the House of Representatives supports rider education, driver awareness, training and proper licensing as the best methods of preventing motorcycle crashes, not mandatory federal helmet laws."
In addition to Sensenbrenner, others who signed the letter include Reps. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.)
To see the letter, go to: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_Federal/5_25_2011_Sensenbrenner_TransportationComm.sflb.ashx?download=true.