Thursday, 1 March 2007

Traffic Police

New York used to have a terrible problem with crime. It is widely believed that Rude old Giuliani fixed this with interesting, novel and intelligent schemes.

Cr*p. It was the fact that the guy who ran the place before him put loads more police on the streets. (Look it up - the economist Steven Levitt goes through all of this in 'Freakonomics')

Now I'm all for good ideas, progress and all that, but there is no frickin substitute for people thinking that if they drive like w*nkers then they'll get caught. Take the mobile fone thing - there is no way in hell this will change until everyone on them starts getting caught, fined and pointed. We have the same problem with speeding - slow down for 50 yards beyond the camera, then back to normal.

Average speed cameras may help. Cameras with technology to recognise whether someone is on the fone may help, but I don't think there are cameras which can recognise the guy who cuts you up, and there are many areas without any cameras at all.

When people know that they can't get away with something, they don't try.

Maybe someone should start counting the cost of poor driving across all factors:
Excess fuel use
Environmental impact
Stress, and stress related illness
Insurance increases
Police and emergency service response to accidents and injuries
Time off work through injury and stress

Then maybe we could weigh all of those up against the preventative costs of having a few more coppers around in brightly coloured cars.

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