How driverless cars could kill the speeding ticket — and rob your city


#1

Washington Post:

How driverless cars could kill the speeding ticket — and rob your city

One of the big benefits of driverless cars is that they aim to promote safety on the roads while reducing congestion at the same time. If cars are largely run by computers, talking to each other, they can travel closer together in a more coordinated fashion without fear of causing a fender-bender.

Those machines could obviously malfunction. But on the whole, driverless cars are known to behave more cautiously than their human operators. And by virtue of their, well, virtues, autonomous vehicles won’t know how to speed, run red lights, park illegally or make other traffic violations that would result in a ticket. And that could drive some city budgets into a deep hole.

Take the nation’s capital, which operates the most speeding and red-light cameras of any city in the country. In 2014, the District issuedan average of 773 tickets a day from its speeding cameras alone — adding up to roughly $37.5 million worth of fines, according to the latest figures fromAAA Mid-Atlantic. Since 2007, speed cameras have been a cash cow for the city’spolice, resulting in nearly $357 million in revenue, AAA said.

Last year the city pulled in less money from parking tickets, partly due to new, smartphone-compatible parking meters that allow drivers to keep track of their status online. And driverless cars will only accelerate that trend, said John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
“If you have one of these vehicles, your propensity for getting a speeding ticket or red-light camera ticket will be greatly diminished,” said Townsend. “It’ll be another step in the long progression of technology and how it is changing the outcome in the number of people who get tickets.”

I don’t drive but all I can say is “Hooray!”
Of course, once the money from tickets dries up city governments will have to look for ways to replace it.


#2

Electric cars create a similar problem with gas taxes. Highways are maintained with the proceeds from taxes on gasoline. Significant numbers of electric powered cars will eventually impact gas tax receipts forcing governments to consider alternative mechanisms for funding highway maintenance. There’s already talk of switching to a mileage based use tax. I suspect cities will make similar changes. If there’s one thing you can always be sure of, government will never do with less.


#3

Articles like this prove traffic laws are not in place for our safety, but for revenue.

Surprising to me someone has not called this into question, committing a traffic offense means paying a large fine, its been this way for a long time, with no changes, except increases in the fines, but they never reduced or stopped the crime to begin with…yet they kept them in place? When other laws are not effective, people complain and they are usually changed until they become effective.

Another big topic will be comprehensive insurance coverage when these cars hit the roads, personally, I know if I had one, I would not see the need for comp insurance anymore, eventually maybe even liability will become a thing of the past. We will always need some type of coverage for tree limbs, hail storms, etc, but gone will be the days of traffic accidents and related insurance, I have to imagine the insurance industry is dreading this day.


#4

Even when the government seems to lack creativity in every other department, they always seem to find more ways to tax people. :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

Just goes to show – if people alluvasudden stopped smoking, drinking, gambling, and driving badly, state and local governments would grind to a halt :smiley:


#6

Traffic tickets were never about safety.

With driverless cars there will be less need for law enforcement officers.


#7

It will not only kill the speeding ticket, it will also kill employment for drivers.

No more taxi drivers. No more delivery drivers. No more truck drivers.

What does “earning a living” mean? And who will buy the driverless cars? Oh.


#8

That’s why governments will spend money on studies that show driverless cars not to be safe under any circumstance. Can’t fight city hall.


#9

Won’t you still need people in the cars to handle emergency situations?


#10

When for every 100 drivers are out of work, hoping 1 is still working in emergency situations does not give hope.


#11

Working while your car drives itself to work will be a productivity boon.


#12

This assumes one has a job.

Think of it this way.

Six tons of driving jobs are gone. POOF. So, where are those people going to earn a living?

And when corporate revenues go down in the non-driving areas, you think they’ll say “NO LAYOFFS”?

No.

So don’t assume people will have jobs. Everyone’s jobs are now at risk.

Last one with a job please turn off the lights.

It also assumes the productivity boon = a pay boon. Won’t happen.


#13

You think companies will load up trucks full of their merchandise and send it off to the other side of the country with no human presence to oversee it? Or that taxis will drive around picking people up with no human being to look after the taxi company’s investment (i.e. the car)? Maybe. But I don’t think driver’s will be shown the door that quickly.

But even if such jobs are destined for history’s trash heap, it wouldn’t be the first time. How about all the people who used to pump gas for a living? Or deliver milk? There are certain industries that come and go. It’s the nature of things. Seldom do such drastic changes occur overnight, though.

I certainly don’t like to see anyone lose their job. But many times the loss of jobs in one area is offset by an increase in others. How many people were making their money as computer technicians or software developers 30 years ago versus today?


#14

Yes. Amazon is already planning on shipping using drones.

Or that taxis will drive around picking people up with no human being to look after the taxi company’s investment (i.e. the car)? Maybe. But I don’t think driver’s will be shown the door that quickly.

Uber is planning this. So is Lyft. You think taxi companies won’t use self-driving cars too?

Seldom do such drastic changes occur overnight, though.

Ever heard of the word “disruption”?

I certainly don’t like to see anyone lose their job. But many times the loss of jobs in one area is offset by an increase in others.

Past performance does not predict future performance.

Your comment assumes companies are not purposely trying to cut headcount. That has happened and labor force participation has hit a new record low. People want jobs and can’t get them. Underemployed and unemployed people (U6) are increasing. 47 million on Food stamps. You think things are getting better? I don’t.

How many people were making their money as computer technicians or software developers 30 years ago versus today?

And they’re being replaced by H1B visa holders and L1 visa holders. Job openings get 100-200 qualified applicants per job opening and told they’re overqualified or rejected for other stupid reasons. Then the big mouths whine “talent shortage” and demand more h1b visas.


#15

Btw, I love the headline – not incurring fines is “robbing” your city of revenue. Presumably the purpose of fines is deterrence and the authorities should rejoice that drivers are becoming more law-abiding.


#16

Here is a very good Wall Street Journal article from 2013. It addresses some of your questions.

wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324144304578624221804774116


#17

So, we just stop progress in the name of jobs? Plenty of other industries have gone away in the past due to progress, when some doors close, new ones open.

Trucking jobs will probably not be around much longer if this is as successful as all the big automakers seem to be banking on, Im sure the freight companies are loving this though and imagine they are involved somehow, trying to figure out the best way forward. These things just happen when progress rolls ahead.


#18

Indeed, and there have been pilots to change the gas tax structure to a mileage-based tax. I think Oregon ran a pilot on this. Frankly, there is ample research on alternatives to the gas tax, so I doubt the government is out of options. They multiple alternatives for financing the roads.


#19

Yes it will have an impact, but jobs will shift and new jobs will be created by autonomous vehicles. It just means investment toward job training and workforce education.


#20

Yes. It is supposedly also the idea of providing internet at Commuter trains and also providing desks for people to work at the trains. I have yet to see any research providing quantifiable estimates on this topic. The question is are commuters substituting their time working at the trains vs. work, or complementing their time working at the trains vs. work?.


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