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The Speed Camera Lottery

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 9:28 am and is filed under Etc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 Responses to “The Speed Camera Lottery”

  1. Andy Says:

    I’ve envisioned this for all things “bad” as a great way to reward the good. Like, if you buy cigarettes, it helps fund my health care. If you buy a new car, it helps fund bike lanes. If you ride a plane, it helps fund a train system. If you shop online, it reduces taxes for locally run stores from your zip code. It would be a really complicated system of taxes, but it seems like it would *always* reward the better behavior. The only issue is who decides what behavior is “better.” Presumably, people who never ride bikes would absolutely hate that a new car tax would help fund bike infrastructure – but if it helps reduce emissions and make more people exercise, than I’m all for it.

  2. John Says:

    No. And the fun-ny thing to me is, someone was paid a lot of money to think of this, as an advertisement for VW. The problem is, of course, that the speed limit is artificially low. Why 55 anyway, now? What if it was 35 on the highways– would this article be valid? Interstates now can average over 80. No one should be tempted to win money by going 55.

    A much more important idea is how we will safely get to eventual speed limits of over 100 mph. Make no mistake, that is where we must go. Ironic, isn’t it, that everyone agrees how everything is going faster, except our most important item– transportation.

    John
    Number one Google search for “best driver in the world.”

  3. fred_dot_u Says:

    I didn’t see this as being practical on major high speed roadways, aka interstates and autobahns, but I’d support such ideas in the urban and semi-urban roadways. Our local constabulary uses speed trailers, or as they call them, safety trailers, self powered radar units with speed limit signs and large digital displays. It doesn’t slow everybody down, of course.

    Speed limits are artificially high and do not represent a safe speed for a roadway on which pedestrians and cyclists and other non-motor vehicle traffic is to be found. Anything used to slow a distracted, unskilled or otherwise impaired driver is a good thing. This last sentence is a generality, of course. Exceptions can certainly be found. Please send as many exceptional drivers my way.

  4. Scott Says:

    I have to agree with Fred. Most of the roads around here (southern Maine) have speed limits that are set much too high for the types of low-speed transport that they see. Add the “extra 10″ on top of that and you have people driving 55 mph on a narrow, curvy road with many cyclists and pedestrians where a speed of 35 mph is much more appropriate.

  5. Scott Says:

    I also wonder exactly how 100 mph on our existing highways is going to work. I drive 45-50 mph on the interstate because that’s about as fast as is comfortable on my motorcycle. Am I going to be mixing it up with 100+ mph traffic or will I suddenly be relegated to back roads and city streets?

    I also can’t imagine subjecting the poor Honda Civic I used to drive to 100 mph. It was most efficient at 45mph in 5th gear and the engine was unbearably loud at speeds above 65 mph. Most of our vehicles just aren’t efficient at such high speeds, if they are even capable of going that fast.

  6. Kevin Love Says:

    I support photo radar speed enforcement, as practiced in the UK.

    The cameras must be pervasive enough to ensure that all speeders get caught. And fines must be high enough to positively deter speeding.

    As for the lottery concept, I do not approve of gambling. Put the money into the public treasury to be used for public goods like public transportation, health care, education, etc.

  7. Bossi Says:

    Nuts to work: I’d take up driving all day, going in endless loops back and forth past the lottery cameras!

  8. Michael Prager Says:

    I like this idea but forget the lottery cameras. How about allow drivers to voluntary put a device in their car that tracks their driving (like was decribed in Traffic). Then you can get a reward if you get above a certain grade 90% safe driving or something. Once a month 3 winners are picked from those who have 90% saftey rating that month. It would not have to be the government either, it could be an insurance company, business if we are talking about a fleet or maybe even the car company. These devices would also serve to provide some feedback to the driver about their driving, what should they improve on, etc.

  9. doug Says:

    100mph speed limits? Crazy. A better investment for the long term is 300mph trains.

  10. John Says:

    Commenting on above comments 9 then 8– of course we will have 100 mph personal devices– nothing crazy about it at all, just a matter of time. Think well into the future– be farsighted. Like I said, it is then instructive to wonder how we will get there. Trains are not personal enough. Oh, they will arrive, but saying they will supplant cars is like saying air travel and planes supplant cars.

    Absolutely put a device in my car to see how well I drive, including not bothering others, not touching lines, keeping distance from others, signaling as we should, and the many other subtleties of safe and efficient driving. Then, set it to forget speeds to some extent. I’d much rather have this than have to go through electronic speed traps that don’t record other facets of safe driving. A 35 mph hour tailgater can kill. An 80 mph highway driver can be as safe as anyone out there. Comment 8 is quite practical. An extension of this is to be able to tell on truly bad drivers, as written in my blog.

    John
    Number one Google search for “best driver in the world”

  11. Rich Says:

    This is a great idea for all non-restricted roadways (where pedestrians, cyclists, and people are). As for on highways – 100mph will cut everyone’s mpg in half and double our consumption for gasoline – a very bad thing. Traffic already goes 75 where it’s safe. How much value are you really gaining by going 25mph faster on those straight sections? There is no need for 100mph cars, only a want. But we will NEED more efficient vehicles and forms of transportation, as well as supporting current forms a lot more – such as cycling and rail. Faster is not the answer to our problems, smarter is.

  12. David Hembrow Says:

    Kevin says “I support photo radar speed enforcement, as practiced in the UK.”

    Unfortunately, a shift to the right in British politics has resulted in these cameras being switched off, much to the delight of the right wing press, but leading to more speeding and complaints from the bereaved.

  13. Don Says:

    Great now only if those damn things can accurately tell me how fast I am doing, or maybe perhaps it’s my brand new Honda Accord.

    All I know is on a road that I take home everyday, I play a game. There is one of those speeding signs that alert you how fast you are doing.

    Every day I get up to 35MPH (the speed limit on this road), put the car on cruise control, and I note the speed limit it tells me that I am going.

    And every day it is a different number ranging up OR down as much as 7 MPH. It’s usually in 3 to 4 MPH range, but it is sure a hoot and a hollar when it goes over 40 MPH.

    This is probably why cops I know tell me that they have a magic number that they don’t go after because of well, you know inaccuracies that don’t exist with radar guns, and the cars themselves.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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