They were running late for their next kill. This was an example of anti-humour 😉
Obviously, that is a take on the well-known traffic-safety campaign Speed Kills[See links at the end]. Does or did it (ever?) have the desired outcome? This was a rhetorical question 😉
We drive every day. We drive everywhere. Most of us (81%, which happens to be a real majority) walk less than 100 m in a day. We take the Leaf, Prius, V8, 7-seater, people-mover, or SUV to the local dairy for a bottle of milk or to the gym (!!) for our (costly) exercise routine. Ordinary law-abiding (see below) citizens drop off their kids at school every day – those kids follow their every move and store & copy it for future use.
It’s also fair to say that many of us are sloppy drivers, tired or lazy, aggressive (with the odd psychopath), inconsiderate, or just simply bad …
Familiarity breeds contempt and this might be a contributing factor causing our driving ‘standards’ slipping even further close/closer to home. We don’t necessarily stop at the STOP sign on the corner of our street; we don’t necessarily slow down on the way to school, especially when running late; we may take that blind corner a wee bit faster than is safe given that we ‘know it so well’. Not surprisingly, there are many stats showing that most traffic accidents happen near (the) home.
We display this (driving) behaviour every day and speeding is only one aspect and symptom of our overall (bad) driving. Thus, when we violate traffic rules and break the law, almost every day, this is habitual and thus recidivist in a broad sense. And no, not getting caught is not an excuse nor does it change the fact that we’re hypocrites and, in fact, habitual law breakers.
A recent post here on The Standard by Enzo highlighted an article by Dr Jarrod Gilbert in the New Zealand Herald pondering the idea of making speeding fines related to one’s income. Much of the discussion centred on fines being a penalty and deterrent and I may have missed it but there was no mention of how fines are meant to correct the errant behaviour, after the act, and re-educate the driver, i.e. it is all ‘stick’ and no ‘carrot’ (except for no-claim bonuses on car insurance that is not (!!) mandatory). Perhaps fines indeed are only a penalty, a slap, and a nice revenue earner but nothing more.
Let’s dig into this a little deeper. A pecuniary fine usually means that you have to work a certain time to pay the fine. In other words, it is a claim on your time in the confinement of the workplace, which one therefore could call ‘work detention’ and no expensive electronic anklet and monitoring system are needed. In contrast to ‘real’ detention (i.e. incarceration or imprisonment) there are no or not many systematic attempts to rehabilitate drivers who received a speeding ticket as far as I’m aware. To me, this seems illogical & inconsistent and prevention always is better than a cure, isn’t it?
Interestingly, Wanaka police gave teens the option to write an essay about the impact of binge drinking on the teenage brain, to avoid a $250 fine, after they got caught breaching Wanaka’s public liquor ban during the December 31 public street party. Apparently, the teens had to visit the police station for an interview at which they were given some information to read to help them write the essay. I applaud this alternative approach as it may actually have a lasting positive effect on some (but not all?) individuals. In turn, this may have a trickle down and positive effect on our collective behaviour on our roads.
My suggestion is to follow a similar approach with speeding drivers and not just young drivers. In fact, I argue that it is older drivers with engrained bad driving habits and attitudes whom should be targeted. For example, make them watch some un-edited ‘raw’ footage from the carnage caused by speeding and interviews with victims and/or their closest friends & family. This is then followed by writing an essay without associated marking and/or judgement to avoid overloading the system or causing disproportional embarrassment and/or humiliation. I reckon this may have a higher likelihood of correcting bad driving habits than a fine and a few demerit points. It forces people to think, if only for a brief period, about the (possible/likely) consequences of their actions because, as I argued, we literally go through the motions on a daily basis.
Essay writing takes time, possibly more for some than for others, but arguably it is better equalizer than a standard fine that does not take into account people’s capacity to pay up, i.e. related to income. For many adults it would be a rather novel experience …
I would love to hear other (preferably creative) ideas!
PS These couple of pieces plus comments support much of the above and the need for (a) behavioural change on NZ roads:
A few links relevant to the main post:
This Guest Post is by Standardista Incognito.