Rules of the road and complications

Gery Witzenburg at AutoBlog asks Is modern traffic enforcement all about dollars instead of safety? — “We’re going with a strong yes.”

So wherever you live and drive, watch out for all types of revenue-driven enforcement and report any you see to the NMA, which keeps an excellent nationwide database. The authorities will never publicly admit it – just as they routinely deny the existence of ticket quotas or that ticket counts are key factors in evaluating and comparing individual officers’ job performances – but it is clearly happening nearly everywhere as states, counties, cities and towns continue to rely on ticket revenue for their operating budgets.

That is why you should use a radar/laser detector (legal in the U.S. except in Virginia and Washington, D.C.) and invest time and energy to contest every ticket, whether or not you think it’s deserved. If you give in and compliantly pay up on one minor ticket today without a fight, the next one will likely drive your insurance premiums way up for a period of years. Multiple studies have shown, by the way, that radar detector usage actually reduces accidents because their users invariably slow and look around whenever the devices sound off.

From a lifetime of study and observation, I long ago concluded that traffic enforcement in the U.S. has become mostly about revenue, very little about safety anymore. From aggressive enforcement of unreasonably low speed limits to speed and red-light cameras and unreasonably high fines, what evidence is there otherwise?

This is part of a larger phenomena that impacts where you can go and where you can park in your RV among a lot of other lifestyle decisions and choices. The enforcement that can be witnessed, as illustrated in Witzenburg’s opinion, also tends to denigrate law enforcement. The social pressures that do exist corrupt law enforcement efforts. The push to ‘do something, do anything’ along with the pushback from people unjustly caught in the mayhem tends to excess enforcement of simple measures like speed and inhibited measures of more important and harder to objectively measure behavior.

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