Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Traffic cops in America

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Every time I see a cop coming behind me with their lights on, my heart skips a beat. Traffic cops in America are so belligerant, so in your face, that driving around in this country is like being in a war-like zone watching out for snipers or landmines.  Whenever I see some a car  being chased by a bullying cop, I feel sorry for the poor fella who went a few miles over the artificially low imposed speed limit. What a way to ruin his evening. What a way to make the insurance companies richer.  All under the disguise of “safety”.

The real reason my friends, you all know: it is for revenue. Cities and counties make big bucks out of traffic tickets.  Officers even have a “quota” they must fill. Evidently, there are some unresponsible types that race through school districts and residential areas where children play, and these folks need to be stopped.

However, the ticketing goes beyond that. Speed limits were established decades ago when cars had fewer safety options and roads were not as good. Many motorists going 70 in a 55 mph highway are driving safely and expertly. The consequences of getting a reckeless driving ticket in this country are astounding to individuals though. Losing your license may mean losing your job in a country where is virtually no public transportation. Insurance companies jack up their rates-and boy don’t they love this system!

Traffic cameras are another problem. Unfortunately Brazil adopted them too and found them to be a cash cow. Just today, a traffic camera scandal came to light: http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0608/528208.html. It has been known for a while that camera vendors rejoice when cities, under the guise of  getting these cameras at “no cost to them”, get to install these little spies. A slice of the fines go to them!! Hello, indirect taxation my friends! And even worse, the camera vendors get their slice of the pie too! They get a PERCENTAGE of each ticket-which smells of corruption to me.

When stopped by a cop, many adopt a bullyish attitude as if you were the biggest criminal in history. You feel like the are in the “most wanted” list. They talk to you condescendingly and sometimes agressively. All you did was go a bit over the speed limit, maybe because the road was clear after a bad traffic jam, or you are late to work.  Weren’t we taught in elementary school that cops are meant to help the population? Since when has the U.S. become a police state? What’s up with the interrogation?

Traffic tickets are just low enough that most people will pay instead of fighting them in court. Few people can take time off from work for that, and many will lose more money by skipping work then paying the fine. Added to that, many people lack the confidence to fight the system. One organization that helps people do that is the NMA. Check out their website:

http://www.motorists.org/

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December 11, 2008 - Posted by | Society

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