Saturday, 2 April 2016

A new way to use the revenue from traffic fines

Many people complain about traffic fines. Sometimes for real reasons like when amber lights are not timed correctly, other times for not so real reasons, like being caught by photo radar at a place where there is a correctly set speed limit. Sometimes traffic fine revenue does make governments incited to not fix the reason why people are committing the violations rather than it being a real deterrent.

Sweden has an interesting system that I like. If we were to adopt it here, I propose that we take a certain percentage of the traffic fines and set that aside for victims of crimes (well, traffic violations), 15% is the usual amount I find. After that, each month, we add up the revenue from the last month and keep it in some sort of account. At locations where traffic violations are rampant, a camera to randomly select drivers that are obeying the law at that location, and this happens at multiple locations. The revenue from the last month is then split evenly between the people who were picked from the pool of law abiders.

I think that this sort of system could help solve a few problems. One being that people like it when they can play a game for money. Just look at how many people play the tax on people who are bad at statistics, er, I mean the lottery. Even for small amounts like 25 dollars.

Another problem is that people often yell around saying that "parking fines/red light cameras/photo radar is a cash cow". It would be harder to make that claim if the money is split evenly between randomly selected law abiding people (with a small amount sent to a victim aid fund) instead of the normal part of the government that deals with this.

A small blog post, but an interesting one that could be a useful part of how Vision 0 and Sustainable Safety's part focus on enforcement could be improved.

Note that this shouldn't be a substitute for aiming to have roads with speed limits that feel like they are natural speeds rather than artificial ones.

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