Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cameras for Speeding Tickets

I’ve heard that some highways now have built-in radars that clock the speeds of all passing cars and that cameras snap photos of speeders for citation purposes. I also understand that this trend may very well grow until virtually all major highways have this system in place before long.

My initial reaction to this was reflexive anger and anxiety. “Big Brother really IS taking over the country!” I thought. But after thinking about it some more, I’m not sure it’s such a bad idea. How many lives have been saved and how much suffering precluded by ubiquitous cameras at traffic signal intersections discouraging drivers from running red lights? How many lives and how much gasoline might be saved if drivers throughout the country were effectively discouraged from speeding.

I speed, and almost everyone I know does too. We do it partly to reach our destination sooner and, perhaps, partly for the sheer exhilaration of it. But I know that I also do it to avoid being run down from behind or, at least, to not be the object of scorn of virtually every other driver on the road. If everybody drove within the speed limit, I could feel more relaxed about doing it too.

It seems a shame that we need these high tech incentives to obey the law. But it appears as though we do in many cases. And if the laws these devices are encouraging us to obey are reasonable, why not? I think the speed laws on our highways are quite reasonable. So why not enforce them with all the high tech we can muster?

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