Tap the brakes and say ‘Cheese’

What’s worse, speeding or speed cameras?

By The Mercury

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t much look forward to getting a speeding ticket in the mail for flying down Seth Child Road because a camera took a picture of my license plate going 82 mph there the week before.”

“You’ll get over it. You get over everything. Besides, you’re not supposed to go 82.”

“That’s not the point. They can’t ticket us that way… can they?”

“They can and they just might. Lots of cities do it.”

“Well it stinks. It’s like being spied on. It’s Big Brother. It’s unconstitutional, or should be. It’s heinous. It creeps me out. And worst of all, it’s gonna cost me some money.”

“You and some other people. I’ll grant you, the city could be in for a tidy windfall unless some sharp lawyers get into the act. Maybe you’ll end up paying a lawyer instead of the city. But be happy. The city has all but dropped the idea of using cameras to ticket people for running stoplights. The solons are worried it won’t do much except cause rear-end collisions.

“Well then maybe I ought to race through red lights and stay below the radar, so to speak, everywhere.”

“That’s a thought, I suppose. But you have to remember, this whole idea is a safety measure. The intent is to slow speeders down and have fewer accidents.  That’s worth doing in our fair city. Everyone slows down when they see a police car. Now we’ll have cameras, and the cops might have more time for the real criminals.”

“I get that, but I still don’t like it. Fast drivers aren’t the problem. We know where we’re going. It’s those idiots who cruise around texting or talking on their cell phones who are the problem. If the city’s gonna use cameras to nail people, why not start with them?”

“Don’t know. Maybe it’s just easier to snap a photo of a license plate than whatever is going on behind tinted glass.”

“And another thing. How does the camera know I’m doing the speeding? Maybe someone stole my car or my kid is driving or I lent it to a friend. Why should I get nailed with a fine, risk losing my license and have my insurance go up if I’m not even in the car?”

“Good questions. Ask the City Commission — and hold on to your keys.”

“I got a better idea. Why can’t the city just put up signs that say, ‘Cameras are photographing motorists’ but not really do it? Drivers would slow down and the city wouldn’t have to spend any money on cameras.”

“That might work, but I’ll bet it’s illegal.”

“OK, what if the signs said, ‘Cameras might be photographing motorists’ or ‘Do you feel lucky?’ or ‘Say ‘Cheese’?”

“You know, you should run for office.”

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