Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Economic Choice of Speeding

There’s been a bit of a buzz going on lately about Virginia’s new hard nose speeding “fees” (even around carless me living in DC) and today it made a brief appearance on the mid-atlantic region’s listserv. If you haven’t heard about the new fees they are basically extremely hefty fines to be placed on excessive violations of traffic laws such speeding 20 mph over or driving while intoxicated. The fees appear to start near $1000 and go up from there depending on the nature of the violation. That’s a pretty hefty fine for something people seem to view as a normal behavior. It seems a lot of people agree with this assessment.

While I believe the fines may be a bit hefty, especially for first time offenders, the idea seems like a step in the right direction. The state is using simple economics to both raise money and try and curb dangerous and reckless driving on its roads. What is not to like here? Unless you’re openly admitting that you drive drunk and recklessly at an excess of 20 miles over the speed limit then you should have nothing to worry about. If you do admit this fact then your license should simply be revoked and your dumbass should be forced to sit through testimony of people affected by the idiot drivers in this country.

This morning after a couple of quick posts on how much the new fee’s suck, a pair of replies shut the conversation to further discussion pretty abruptly.

You know. . .I hate to go here, but I am constantly amazed when I drive to a
MABRA race somewhere on one of our interstates and have my doors blown off by
another driver with a bike on the roof who is obviously heading to the same
event. This is usually the case even if I'm exceeding the speed limit.

Then you get onto a listserve that bitches and moans about
reckless driving and how bikes aren't given as much respect they should, drivers
are dangerous, indignance about a rider who is killed by a reckless driver
that gets off scot free, etc. etc.

It seems somewhat odd to me
that cyclists would bitch about the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any other state
for that matter, taking action to actually enforce driving laws. It seems to me
that cyclists more to gain from this than anyone. Granted we don't ride on
interstates, but any effort to enforce safe driving can only be beneficial to

Cut the hypocritical crap guys. If you can't do the
time, don't do the crime. . .


People who are viewing this effort by the state of Virginia as
being some kind of obstacle to driving your car, probably shouldn't be
driving in the first place! This is a benefit not a hindrance. As
cyclists we should all be applauding the increased effort reduce reckless
driving that's long overdue.

Seriously, those worried about these
fines should examine their own behavior and stop creating an environment that
promotes and enables this foolishness...people who drive dangerously on the
interstates don't suddenly become responsible, considerate, and well meaning
when they travel on smaller roads that we live and ride on.

Couldn’t have put it better myself. I will agree with the one follow up post on the topic that while it is a great thing, it is truly a shame that it’s only going to affect in state drivers. I guess they don’t want to discourage tourism; even if those tourists drive like a-holes and kill their residents.
Hopefully if nothing else the would be drunk drivers will decide the $5 metro fee or even the $40 cab ride home is more economically viable then the $2000+ price tag on that DUI.


Chris said...

Of course, the problem to me is still the fact that fines, etc., are meaningless when they aren't enforced. I take I-66 to escape to the country every weeekend. The excessive speeding, the HOV lane violations, etc., are appalling. They seem to remain that way.

KMAX said...

That's so true. Kind of brings to mind the illegal u-turn that nearly kill us every day as cyclists that are not only commited by cabs and commuters but are ignored and worse commited by the cops themselves.

Stopping at crosswalks? You gotta be kidding, who cares if it's the law? The police certainly don't.

Freewheel said...

I'm always in favor of an increase in the gas tax, but this sounds even better. OTH, now I have to slow down and bike the speed limit. ;)

theboy said...

The post is good, but the duihope.org link should be required viewing for every licensed driver. There just are not words . . . .