The (not-so) Great Gatso…

so, recently the powers-that-be noticed how fast some folks were driving on local roads. i guess what’s been obvious to anyone who drives the same roads required radar for the authorities to figure out.

so, the proposed solution? lowering the limits and speed cameras. oh boy.

gee, i would have thought effective enforcement of existing laws would be the best solution. or is 65 mph too fast now?

i think that public safety isn’t the first thing on the speed camera proponents’ minds. revenue generation, however, may be. speed cameras (and their cousin, the red light camera) are ineffectual at traffic enforcement, but fantastic at raising money.

those who espouse speed cameras suggest they make the roads safer, citing government studies (usually British, as Great Britain is probably the most badly camera-infested country in the world). however, Home Office data doesn’t support this assertion. the fact that in 2003, the British government raked in over £100 million in camera fines (almost $150 million) probably has no bearing at all, right?

and i think there are a whole bunch of issues with speed cameras and the sixth amendment to the US Constitution. how can one confront the “witnesses,” when the only witness is an inanimate object? that is often wrong? speed enforcement radar isn’t fool proof. it’s not even particularly accurate – it relies on the trained ability and observational skills of the police officer operating it. generally, i trust a police officer to correctly judge the dynamics of a traffic situation. i don’t trust a camera designed to generate revenue for the state and the company that sold it – especially since the company that sells the cameras usually gets a “cut” of every ticket. there’s an uninterested and neutral party for you.

i hope we don’t get an infestation of speed cameras here.  i find it particularly telling that this proposal has surfaced after the high speeds seen on certain roads made it into the news; perhaps it’s possible to get an uninformed public to agree to this surreptitious taxation while indignation is high? cries of “do something!” can be met with “we are!” nevermind that revenue enhancement would be the only real result.

some sites that discuss (or simply rant about) the issue of automated photo traffic enforcement:

The Association of British Drivers

The National Motorists Association

Speedcam

a quote to think about:

“Speed cameras don’t reduce casualties – they are just for revenue generation.” – Chief Inspector Paul Gilroy, Northumbria Police

and, on a friendlier note, welcome to the Lowcountry’s newest famous resident! somebody else for the star-spotters to claim they saw downtown, i guess…

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