Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Troll Bill

According to the Baltimore Sun, it appears as if speed cameras will be coming to a school or construction site near you sometime soon. The restrictions on the use of these cameras is stated to be "45 MPH or higher zones", which would seem to me to make the "school" designation irrelevant since school zones are normally 30 MPH. The driver has to be going 12 miles or more over the limit, will get a $40 fine, and no points on their license.

While the restrictions on the cameras give this measure the appearance of reasonableness, it is really just a driver tax. Montgomery County generated $10 million last year through the pilot program. Also, while protesting that this is not a fund raising effort, check out the following quotes from the Sun article:

Chevy Chase- one of several Montgomery County municipalities that use the cameras - made more money from them last year than its entire town budget, Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat, told colleagues Tuesday.

McIntosh said cameras can play an important role "as you cut local funding for core services." She said cameras are "a way to fund public safety."

I hope it is clear why I titled this post "The Troll Bill". Drivers are being preyed upon by the government. Should you speed in construction and school zones? Obviously not, but should the government use the construct of "public safety" when they are really after "public money." Is this proposal really that far off from putting monitors in your car to fine you for speeding.

If they were being honest about enforcing the law to raise money, I have an original proposal. Add a $10,000 fine to any state legislator that did not properly fill out his or her ethical disclosure form.


  1. here's the thing... most people assume that the gov't does what's best for everybody. they also assume that people in office are much smarter than themselves. this combo is dangerous and i believe that it has grown from a small flu to plague that most of my generation has fallen victim to. this assumption has made it a marketing competition for politians. first one to 'create' a public danger out of thin air WINS!!

    side note: we've had cars that go over 40 mph hour for how long? at least 70-80 years... what uptick in roadside pedestrian deaths caused this sudden 'uproar'?

    second side note: voting has become cool. not because you're choosing who you think would make a better public official but because you want to SAY you voted and look down upon those who didn't vote for RockBama... what i think sucks is that i have yet to find someone who voted for 'Rock' that actually had a good reason behind their vote besides 'change' and 'not Bush.'

    as long as this selective apathy continues public officials will continue to think of new and exciting ways to nickel and dime the American people and less time thinking up ways to use the hard earned money (almost half of my paycheck) we give them already to do SOMETHING worth while!

  2. All of the research I've read about concludes that traffic cameras don't really decrease the amount of accidents. Drivers tend to slow down in proximity to cameras then speed up again. I'm sure we can find better ways to fund public safety, like installing concrete islands and speed bumps in the roads.

    Anon, stumbled across your blog today. I started my blog earlier this year and I'm new to the blogosphere too. I like your niche and I've added your blog to my roll. Keep up the good work!

    -The Gonzo Journalist-

  3. Thanks Jack. Looks like the bill failed thanks to some tacit shame on the Dem's side and some strong work by Alan Kittleman & Co in the Senate.

    I appreciate the support.