Thursday, January 12, 2006

Oh, hey! Red light.

You need to read Grits for Breakfast to know what I'm talking about in this comment.

I think the Australian example was a good one. He does agree that
rear-endings and similar accidents increased, but "FATALITIES and
vs additional injuries from rear end collisions were
weighted according to economic costs associated with each".

The argument of equal protection under the law when weighing the guaranteed $75 fine versus a POSSIBLE $200 fine has one shortcoming, these are punishments, not protections.

Whether it's a $75 fine or a $200 fine, the PUBLIC is equally protected by keeping inconsiderate drivers from running red lights, in general. That's equal protection. So, it causes a few fender benders. It also helps save lives and serious injuries.

In an accident, you take your car to the shop and it's fixed. One-time expense and it's over. People, on the other hand, may require hospitalization, home health care, physical therapy, or any combination of these for months. Not to mention lost wages and productivity.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

To clarify: the equal protection clause protects Americans from unequal exercise of state power -- in this context it's a reference to the rights of the defendants who are treated unequally.

I also disagree that most red light runners do it because they're "inconsiderate." I think it's usually an accident, not intentional, meaning engineering solutions instead of penalties would be more useful for safety purposes.

TXDoT says you'd reduce side impact accidents more just by lengthening the yellow light by a couple of seconds. Wouldn't you prefer they try that first?

Thanks for the link, and for reading.

Writer said...

You're right. We could have TxDOT set timing standards for the lights for different speed limits so that there would be no temptation to fiddle with them.

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