Tuesday, September 9, 2008

From the Funny File

I have long believed that speed enforcement on the highways and byways of our fair land has always been more about raising revenue for the coffers of whatever jurisdiction is involved than saving the driving public from themselves. I always look upon new proposals for camera enforcement with a healthy dose of suspicion. If a private company is involved in the sharing of any revenues involved, I become more suspicious still.

I have never seen any credible study that links driving speed to the accident rate. I feel as safe traveling in a group of vehicles going 80 mph (which is the crowd I normally choose to cruise with) as I do in a group going 50 mph, as long as all the vehicles are traveling at the same relative speed. What bothers me is when the group doing 80 encounters a member of the Anti-destination League doing 50 mph in the left lane. Now there is an accident waiting to happen.

According to an article in theNewspaper.com, it appears the state of Washington is getting ready to implement the use of speed cameras throughout the state. Apparently, this effort is being pitched to the gullible public as a way that government is going to step in and make the motorists who travel the roadways of Washington much safer than they would otherwise be.

After all, who cares what will happen when a group of automobiles moving along at a merry clip round a curve and suddenly spot a lone white van parked beside the road. After all, this is government saving lives! The panic that will ensue when everybody jumps on the binders at once will undoubtedly be most destructive. Can you say hair, teeth and eyeballs strewn about? Perhaps not, but the news crews sent to cover the carnage will.

"Along with our Washington State Patrol partners, we place a high priority on highway safety," WSDOT State Traffic Engineer Ted Trepanier said. "The automated traffic safety cameras are just part of the highway safety program."

That may be the "official line," but according to another article linked in the above, the voters of Washington may be having other ideas. It seems a state ballot initiative coming up in November (Initiative 985) will prohibit local jurisdictions from keeping the revenues generated by camera enforcement. Better still, it will prevent these jurisdictions from sharing this revenue with the for-profit companies that offer ticketing services.

What is truly funny here (and more than a little telling) is that five cities in the state have dropped their plans to implement camera enforcement once the ballot initiative was announced.

Nice to see that voters in at least one state are not falling for what I believe is a revenue-enhancing move disguised as a "public safety" effort. Perhaps some of them are not exactly comfortable with the idea of private companies being so deeply involved in enforcing the law, either. After all, that is the sole responsibility of government.

Or, at least it should be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Dave!

When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. -Dorothy Thompson