Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to improve our highway's speeding problem?

How to improve upon our highway's speeding problem?


The way we deal with speeding in the nations’ highway is inefficient, ineffective, unfair and dangerous.

It is INEFFICIENT because its takes too much time and effort to enforce speeding code violations.

It is INEFFECTIVE because it does not achieve its intended purpose in making people slow down.

It is UNFAIR because many people speed while only the unlucky few get a ticket. It is also UNFAIR because rich people can pay to speed at will.

It is DANGEROUS because traffic police are being exposed to road hazards and drivers’ attack while giving a ticket.


The most efficient way of controlling speeding is to do away with the current traffic - fine system and replace it is with speeding - fee system. Such a system will be based on the idea that speeding is not an immoral crime to be punished but a dangerous act to be controlled.

The best way to control speedy motorists is to progressively charge motorists a speeding fee/mile over and above speed free zone. For example, the speed free zone is under 55. For the first 5 miles over, i.e., 56 to 60, motorists would be charged with a fee of $2 mile. For the next 5 miles, i.e., 61 to 65, the fees would be $4/mile, and so on.

If the motorists drive over a certain speed limit, say 80 over a 55 miles zone, then they are acting recklessly and should be charged criminally, and face jail time.

To facilitate the process, all vehicles on the nation’s highway would be electronically monitored by GPS. Every motorist would have his/her own highway speed deposit (HSD) ($1,000) before venturing on any highway. Money would be automatically draw down when the driver speed beyond the speed free zone. If there is no money in the HSD, the person is not allowed to drive. Much like insurance. HSD is replenished every moth.

This system also save enforcement costs. Highway police officers no longer need to stop drivers for lower end speeding and focus on really dangerous speeders.

People are rational human being. Drivers are economic animal. Thus the most effective way to stop and reduce speeding is by administrative – fees. The reason is a simple one. People have an incentive to slow down when speeding costs money. Fast driving has a cost.

The other good thing about fees per speeding mile is that is promotes rational choice of speed vs. not speed. For those people who has a reason to speed, e.g., get to an appointment, they now can now calculate the cost vs. benefits, and act accordingly.

This system would not be defeated by people who could otherwise afford to pay. The speed fine can be made to base on ones income level (or day fine system). For billionaires, it cost $1000 for per speeding mile.

The most often heard complaint about traffic speeding enforcement is why me? This speed for fee system would do away with such kinds of complaint. Everyone would be required to pay speeding fees, with no exception.

Such a system can be made fairer by adjusting the free speeding zone according to the average speed people are doing. In essence if everyone (majority) of the people were speeding on I-90 to go home before the storm hits, the average speed of the time would be made the de facto speed limit for fee charging purpose. In essence, excessive traffic speeding fees would only be charged over and above the average speed by all motorists travelling along a certain route. For example, normal speed is 55 MPH. If Friday after work hour speed by 75% of the motorists are 65 MPH, the de facto speed limit is now 65 not 55 MPH, before you would be asked to pay a fee.

The two most dangerous moments of highway traffic enforcement are: (1) Officer stepping onto a busy highway. There is a chance he might be run over. (2) Officer confronting irate drivers or dangerous criminals. They might get shot or assaulted. By making traffic speeding an administrative fees exercise, the highway cops no longer need to stop any motorists and risking their life in the line of duty.

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