Saturday, April 12, 2008

O.K., This Is Messed Up, Y'All

Traffic cameras are so effective at preventing dangerous driving that cops the nation over are scrambling to get rid of them to restore revenues gathered from issuing tickets.

"Red light cameras do reduce accidents. That is a good thing ... But they do it by reducing red light violations, by as much as 29 percent from month to month at particularly busy Dallas intersections. ... City Manager Mary Suhm estimated last week that the city would fall short by more than $4 million. So last week, the city turned off about a quarter of the least profitable cameras, saying it couldn't justify the cost of running them."

What. The. Fuck?

Here you have a proven means of increasing public safety by reducing the number of people running red lights and broadsiding other drivers, thereby saving lives.

But because they actually do what they are designed to do, they are being shut off or removed because it is reducing a revenue stream that the city has grown addicted to.

I have long maintained that most of the laws on the books don't have a goddamned thing to do with public safety or justice. They are all about profiting off of crime and injustice.

I mean, shouldn't it be ultimate goal of our judicial system and our body of laws to reach a point where there are no tickets, fines or fees because every citizen is obeying all of the laws?

Think about it. Zero crime. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

Apparently not.

Let's look at drunk driving. You could eliminate drunk driving almost instantly by requiring that every vehicle sold in the U.S. had to have an ignition interlock device installed. If your blood alcohol level is above a certain amount, your car won't start. Problem solved! End of story. So long, M.A.D.D., your job is done. Get a hobby.

But that won't happen. M.A.D.D. is a huge organization with a wide-sweeping agenda. They aren't going to let anyone take their rice bowl away from them. The restaurant and bar owners would lobby against this with every dollar they could muster. The alcohol companies would go nuts! Lawyers would riot in the streets!

But mostly it will never happen because no government anywhere will propose or pass such a requirement because of the SHITLOAD of money they make from DUIs. It is a money printing machine like no other.

Do any of you have any idea how much a DUI would actually cost you?

Forget about the hassle of not having a driver license for a while, let's just look at money.

Maybe $750 for bail.

Figure an $85.00 tow bill and hope you can get it out right away so they don't charge you a daily storage fee.

A good attorney will run you about $5000.00

There will be fines, maybe $600.00

Court costs, maybe another $100.00

If you are lucky enough to get probation with Minimum Supervision, they will charge you for that. That will be about $35.00 a month for a year or two. What's that? Another $420.00-$840.00?

You'll need supplemental SR-22 auto insurance for a couple of years There's another $500.00.

Then there is the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender's Program (SATOP). This thing is a real gold mine.

First you'll need to go to one of their Offender Management Units (OMU) and pony up a $65.00 OMU service fee plus a $125.00 "supplemental fee" (i.e. "it has no purpose...we're just charging it because we can and if you don't pay it we can send you to jail. Ahahahahahaha!"). This is all so that they can submit you to a "Driver Risk Inventory, or DRI" and be "interviewed" by a Qualified Substance Abuse Professional.

You will be paying someone to determine how much they will punish you.

Any idea how someone becomes a "Qualified Substance Abuse Professional"? About 85% of the time it's by being a recovering alcoholic or crack head who took some courses at the community college, got a certificate, and assumes that anybody sitting across the desk from them is as fucked up as they were. They are the ones who ultimately decide how much of a fucking you are going to take. So, another $190.00 for that privilege.

If it's a first offense and you get off lucky, you'll get a 10 hour "Offender Education Program" that will only cost you another $100.00

If it's a second offense or they think you need it, you could get a "Weekend Intervention Program". That's where you get locked in a cheap motel with a bunch of other DUI victims for 48 hours. That's gonna cost ya about $400.00 and the cheap motel gets a cut of that. So the motel industry doesn't want ignition interlock devices either.

If you are a chronic offender, or if the interviewer just really doesn't like you, you could get the Clinical Intervention Program. That's a 50 hour outpatient rehabilitation program. You're looking at over $800.00 for that one.

So, let's see.

You are probably looking at a minimum of around $7500.00, plus community service, plus the loss of your license for the crime of going out and having a few drinks with some friends and having the unfortunate luck to get stopped at a random DUI Checkpoint.

All of which could be eliminated by requiring ignition interlock devices on all vehicles sold in the U.S.

No more drunk driving, ever.

No more lives lost to drunk drivers, ever.

And it will never, ever happen because at a minimum of $7500.00 a pop, there is too much money to be lost by eliminating that problem and saving lives.

There is an entire sector of government and a private legal industry that rakes in HUGE profits from people breaking the law.

They WANT people to break the law.

Their jobs and livliehood DEPEND on people breaking the law.

A completely law abiding populace and a crime free society would be a DISASTER to these people.

They love passing laws that they KNOW people are going to break because they can generate more revenue that way.

When the government enacts a new law with stiff penalties, like the DUI laws, it is no different than a corporation rolling out a new product with a substantial profit margin.

When a corporation does it, the selling point is "consumers are demanding this".

When the government does it, the sales pitch is "public safety...we are protecting you and your children".

Bull. $hit.

It's all about the money. Your money.


Joe said... is a site that covers driving issues around the world. They have a body of evidence that says that accidents at camera red lights go up, due to the added amount of rear end accidents caused by panic stops and following too close.
Its easy to manipulate the amount of time the light stays yellow. The short yellow tends to catch more people running the light and therefore revenue goes up.
Its all a scam.

Joshua Xalpharis said...

I'm a huge fan of natural selection. The world needs to have the herd thinned a bit from time to time.

This seems to be the anti-thesis to that. How often does the drunk asshole perish? Not as often as the poor sucker he plows into, I imagine.

I agree that the ignition interlock systems are the way to go.

This is murder by legislature.

Grazzt said...

IIDs typically cost between $100 to $200 to install and $70 to $100 in monthly fees, not including taxes, due to necessary up keep and calibration.

Who is going to foot the bill for the $1200 per year, per vehicle? The owner? The manufacturer, the state/fed?

I think the $7500 amount you come to is inflated, at least in cases where it is a persons first DUI. If they have no priors, at all, and are able to get diversion, an offender is probably looking at no more than 4k, worst case scenario.

Obviously, being a repeat offender gets expensive, fast.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't find this until today and it's perfect because Im just that bitter today. Im on board. I can tell you as a mental health professional (and not just with certs from the juco either..) that you are NOT inflating the costs of the substance abuse treatment. In fact, you could easily be low-balling that part...