Because MOCs are discriminatory and have not been proven effective, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) strongly supports this new legislative effort and urges motorcyclists to take action to assure passage. The AMA needs your help to contact your Representative immediately and urge them to cosponsor this legislation.
This bill came about in response to the Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations Grant (DTNH22-10-R-00386) program administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can view the grant notice here.
Initially begun in New York State, the process involves establishing checkpoints in which only motorcycles are pulled over and subjected to a series of inspections.
As you may know, the state of Georgia was the only state to receive a grant in the amount of $70,000 from the NHTSA program to create MOCs. The grant will be used to conduct one or more roadside motorcycle-only checks in accordance with what was outlined in the Request for Applications. The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) will oversee the day-to-day operation of the program.
On October 26, 2010, the AMA sent a letter to Georgia's former Governor Sonny Perdue requesting he suspend the implementation of the grant until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed. The former governor did not respond to AMA's letter. Therefore, the AMA sent another letter, dated February 15, 2011, to Georgia's newly-elected Governor Nathan Deal. To see AMA's letter, click here.
The AMA cautions riders traveling through the state of Georgia that the GSP may mobilize the MOC before, during and after Daytona Bike Week.
In addition to the letters submitted to the past and present governors of Georgia, the AMA has questioned the potential discriminatory and legal nature of this program and submitted a list of questions for clarification to the New York State Police. To date, New York authorities have not responded. The AMA also sent a letter to the NHTSA Administrator David Strickland urging him to suspend the grant program until questions have been addressed. To view AMA's letter, click here. To view Administrator Strickland's response, click here.
Additionally, on September 30, 2010, Sensenbrenner, along with some of his congressional colleagues, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The congressional letter urged LaHood to suspend the grant program that would expand the highly criticized practice of creating motorcycle-only checkpoints by law enforcement agencies. The AMA strongly supports this important letter. To see the congressional letter, click here.
The AMA believes that the primary source of motorcycle safety is in motorcycle crash prevention and not in arbitrarily pulling over riders and randomly subjecting them to roadside inspections. The NHTSA should focus on decreasing the likelihood of crashes from occurring in the first place. The methods used in New York State and possibly Georgia remain highly suspect and no public money should be applied to promoting such a program without first addressing questions from the motorcycling community.
Specifically, how do MOCs increase the safety of motorcyclists? Where do the selected states draw their authority to conduct MOCs? Will "probable cause" be required to stop a motorcycle under the terms of this grant program? If so, what will constitute "probable cause?" What types of infractions were recorded by New York law enforcement officials at these checkpoints? What criteria will be used to determine if the MOCs are successful? Do states have the jurisdiction to inspect vehicles registered in another state? And, how was the safety of motorcyclists improved by the use of MOCs?
This bill is critical to ending the discriminatory practice of MOCs. The motorcycling community needs you to contact your Representative now to ask them to cosponsor Sensenbrenner's new bill to end funding for MOCs. Just follow the "Take Action" option to send a pre-written e-mail directly to your Representative.
Be sure to forward this to your motorcycling friends! The AMA needs motorcyclists to unite against MOCs.