While relaxing between cases at work the other day, a video came across my timeline of a police department in an Indiana city demonstrating their new safety policy. As the officer in the video describes, the department plans to begin placing officers on yellow school buses that nobody associates with police in order to inconspicuously detect motorists who dare endanger the public by violating traffic laws. The officer gives examples of the types of infractions this program would allow them to catch, which include seat belt violations and distracted driving. I found this to be shockingly proactive!
In 2015, over 35,000 people died in traffic accidents, which was a 7% increase from 2014 and the highest number of fatalities on roadways since 2008. The numbers have continued to rise in 2016. It is becoming increasingly clear that drivers are simply too irresponsible to drive safely; the government has a duty to step in and protect us from ourselves!
Last year, two socialist New Jersey Assemblymen introduced a bill that would explicitly prohibit any driver from engaging in any activity while driving other than steering, braking, and accelerating, so long as any police officer deemed that the action interfered with ‘safe operation of the vehicle’. The first offense would carry a fine of $200-400. This would allow police officers to ticket any driver who was so inconsiderate and reckless as to manipulate their audio in their car, eat, drink, or engage in any other distracting behavior. Unfortunately, the bill didn’t pass into law, but these brave authoritarians must continue to work towards our goal: To eliminate all traffic-related deaths!
In addition to eating, drinking, and endlessly futzing with the radio or Liberty Block podcasts, texting and driving is perhaps the largest factor contributing to the steady and terrifying rise in traffic fatalities. In 2013, NY governor Andrew Cuomo (socialist) increased the punishment for texting and driving. Drivers in NY are now fined $50-200 and given five points on their license the first time that they are convicted of driving while using any mobile device in any manner. Every single government in the world should follow NY’s lead and implement similar laws to save people from themselves, and more importantly, to save all of the children who are injured and killed by reckless drivers!
We have become extremely careless as drivers over the past few years, but there are more pieces to this epidemic of anarchy on the roads. We have also become glued to our phones while walking. Many of us have seen the videos of people walking into poles because they couldn’t break their focus from that precious LED screen for a fraction of a second. Clearly, government must regulate pedestrians in a similar fashion to drivers. After the bill failed to make it out of committee each of the past few years, socialist NY state senator Tony Avella has once again proposed a bill that would make it illegal to cross a street while in possession of a mobile device. The law applies to those crossing the street, even inside the borders of a crosswalk, and it still applies when walking in the direction of a green light/walk signal. Senator Avella was kindhearted and thoughtful to provide an exemption for hands-free (bluetooth) devices, although people can still easily be distracted by their phone conversation alone, certainly enough to wander into a busy street.
I applaud Tony Avella for working each and every year against the dangerous libertarians and conservatives in Albany to pass common sense regulation that would make us all so much safer. But I am thinking even bigger: In our constant effort to make the roads safer, the next logical step is to monitor drivers continuously, so that we can A) punish anyone violating the law immediately and without the need for traffic stops and B) deter people from ever committing a traffic crime ever again.
These are the basics of the bill that I would love to see someone like Avella propose: Mandate that all privately owned vehicles have 2-way dash-cams that record continuously and that stream to a law enforcement (NHTSA/NYS Police/NYPD) database. Let’s say that we phase this into law over two years. During those two years, the NY government could develop a video technology algorithm that detects when the driver commits any action that the NJ bill above seeks to prohibit – that is, any action not directly related to driving the vehicle – from touching the radio, to eating, to tweeting, to flirting with a passenger. The algorithm would then trigger a ticket being sent to the person to whom the car is registered, or even deducted from the person’s bank account. This would be extremely efficient and would continuously punish reckless drivers until nobody even considered committing a traffic violation ever again.
Attaining a world free of reckless, illegal behavior and needless dying will be a very difficult battle, but it will ultimately prove worthwhile. For those libertarians who will inevitably complain about their dear civil liberties, if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear! The fact is that we individuals can’t secure safety and security for ourselves. Only government is powerful and righteous enough to protect each and every one of us from naturally reckless behavior – even when it comes from within ourselves.