Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I’ve always had a problem with the whole traffic violation-fines regime. Technically, when we speed, fail to buckle-up, or forget to signal when we turn, we are breaking the law—that set of rules meant to maintain social order, and which separates us from the lower species we share the planet with. However, if we give a little money to the city, county, or state, the authorities will forget all about our breaking the law.
I know it sounds cynical, but aside from making the collection of money the goal of “enforcement” rather than a punishment to reinforce the importance of following the law, the problem with this regime is that takes advantage of our need to be time-conscious in a society where we all know that “time is money.” We have to be certain places by certain times. We all have deadlines. We all have goals and productivity targets. We have tests to take. All of these goals have time-constraints attached to them. Speeding and trying to cut corners are just reflections of our time-conscious society, which socially programs us to recognize and make time the recognition the center of our lives.
When we are “punished” by way of tickets for speeding or illegally turning on a red light, we are being penalized for going with the flow of society. Yes, there have to be rules in for the greater good of public safety, but what I speak of are the innocent “violations” which are made almost subconsciously in our hurried society. No, we should not be speeding through buses stopping to unload/load children for school, nor should we be weaving in and out of traffic. However, we should not be victimized by policing for profit by questionable means, by local municipalities looking to fatten their coffers. Case in point—red light traffic cameras.
A few months ago, I wrote a piece on my sister blog offering suggestions on how to avoid losing money to red light city cameras ("Public Service Announcement - Beware of Red Light Traffic Cameras!"). This morning, NBC’s The Today Show did a piece on these questionable revenue-generating rackets. For many reasons, some that I outlined on the piece I did at my sister blog, The Today Show’s segment revealed much of what is wrong with these gadgets—including the corruption tied to their use by municipalities. Watch the segment below to get a better understanding of the problem with red-light cameras, then take our poll afterwards...