I came up with an idea today while reading a fairly recent Dr. Gridlock article in the Washington Post about speed cameras. One of the reasons they are hated (at least by me) is that there is no real way out of them. Once the flash goes off, your fate is sealed. Sure you can take it to court, but from what I’ve experienced at least, nothing happened, the fine stayed and I had a court fee on top. Compare this to the traditional methods of getting a ticket where you take it to court and either the judge reduces or takes off the penalty, or you could get lucky and the cop doesn’t show. And you’re off the hook and the world sleeps fine at night.
This is because while speeding is technically a crime, I (along with many) don’t really consider it one and it should not be lumped in with them. The goal is prevention to avoid a real tragedy, I get that. But just because mistakes happen (more often w/ speeding than red light violations) doesn’t mean you should be nailed everytime.
I’ve been thinking what if there was a chance that even if you saw that traffic camera flash go off, you wouldn’t get the ticket. Perhaps it could just be purely random. Perhaps it could be based on an algorithm based on the owner of the vehicle (and assumed driver at the time) and that there were things that could be done to help your chances of getting off. I think the desired effect of the camera would still happen without the penalty every time.