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Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the jaywalking-soon-to-become-very-expensive dept.

Transportation 626

colinneagle writes "Google's driverless cars have now combined to drive more than 700,000 miles on public roads without receiving one citation, The Atlantic reported this week. While this raises a lot of questions about who is responsible to pay for a ticket issued to a speeding autonomous car – current California law would have the person in the driver's seat responsible, while Google has said the company that designed the car should pay the fine – it also hints at a future where local and state governments will have to operate without a substantial source of revenue.

Approximately 41 million people receive speeding tickets in the U.S. every year, paying out more than $6.2 billion per year, according to statistics from the U.S. Highway Patrol published at StatisticBrain.com. That translates to an estimated $300,000 in speeding ticket revenue per U.S. police officer every year. State and local governments often lean on this source of income when they hit financial trouble. A study released in 2009 examined data over a 13-year period in North Carolina, finding a 'statistically significant correlation between a drop in local government revenue one year, and more traffic tickets the next year,' Popular Science reported. So, just as drug cops in Colorado and Washington are cutting budgets after losing revenue from asset and property seizures from marijuana arrests, state and local governments will need to account for a drastic reduction in fines from traffic violations as autonomous cars stick to the speed limit."

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Next target, please (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048763)

So what's the next shakedown target in this game of "citizens vs government"?

Re:Next target, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048869)

Drugs, smoking in public, drinking in public. They key is to go after things that most residents don't care about.

Re:Next target, please (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 6 months ago | (#47049067)

Nah, they already trumped all that with terrorism. Why do you think we are looking at pot legalization in the next few years? The fact that the entire stance on pot was based on lies has been known for a long time. The fact that its safer than alcohol is pretty much uncontroversial, so what changed?

Very simply the war on terror came along and gave them a reason to justify budgets like never before. Just the other day my wife and I were walking past the local park and saw a picnic basket on a blanket, with nobody anywhere around (it turns out to have been left by the bridal party off taking pictures nearby).

As we walked past my wife joked "Downtown there would already be police investigating". We didn't get another 10 steps before 3 uniformed officers crossed the street and began walking into the park.... they barely made it to the blanket as the bridal party came back....but seriously.... investigating picnic blankets now? This is police work now?

Don't know if you noticed, but the fatherland security money is flowing into these departments like gangbusters. They are getting all manner of new equipment.....all without actually having to do anything dangerous like....breaking into people's homes to raid them. All they have to do is wave their hands and say words like "credible threat" and its like magic.

The common sense reasons that drug prohibition is a dismal failure are nothing new, nothing changed except...they realized they didn't need it.

Re:Next target, please (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049127)

Hopefully people will come to their senses and outlaw tobacco and alcohol while simultaneously legalizing marijuana.

Just Tack on a Fee (1, Insightful)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 6 months ago | (#47048769)

$1,000 in road enforcement fees per driverless car.

This model's already being proposed for electric vehicles, on the grounds that they aren't paying fuel taxes. It's idiotic for EV's, since they serve an important purpose. But it's ideal for driverless cars.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (0)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 6 months ago | (#47048851)

$1,000 in road enforcement fees per driverless car.

This model's already being proposed for electric vehicles, on the grounds that they aren't paying fuel taxes. It's idiotic for EV's, since they serve an important purpose. But it's ideal for driverless cars.

Just put a big red "pull over at the nearest suitable location" button somewhere within easy reach. If these things are smart enough to ferry people around without wrecking themselves, driving into walls at full speed, driving off cliffs and without running over pedestrians and cyclists they can pull over automatically when the peelers want to have a word with the passengers.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#47049111)

That's actually a good point: since the occupants would have zero control over their vehicle, it would be trivial for LEOs to set up drive-through nudie scanners, redirect all traffic through them, then single out the cars that "appear to be carrying contraband" and put them on a separate track for an "enhanced" search.

The fact that such a thing would be mind-bendingly unconstitutional will probably never even cross their minds, so long as the practice remains profitable.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (5, Insightful)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 6 months ago | (#47048921)

Taxing EVs makes perfect sense. They still need roads to be built and maintained.

Adding an enforcement fee for a car that doesn't need enforcement is just absurd. If the number of tickets being written drops because there are no more speeding cars and reckless drivers, then just reduce the size of the police force. You don't need patrol cops any more and that's a good thing. Instead of employing people as patrol cops, they can instead work as artists or scientists or something that makes the world better instead of being a necessary evil.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 6 months ago | (#47048947)

Probably not just EV vehicles.

Get ready for 4 and 5 digit registration renewal fees.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#47049049)

The vast majority of road wear is from heavy trucks, mostly bringing stuff like groceries that we all need. The only reason we have a gas tax is because it's taxable. That's the only government process for deciding what to tax: is it reasonably practical to tax X? Yes? Then we're just arguing about the rate.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#47049087)

Adding an enforcement fee for a car that doesn't need enforcement is just absurd.

The way I read it, is its not an enforcement fee for a car that doesn't need enforcement. Its a $1000 tax on (I think) all cars to support local police municipal revenues so they can continue to pursue criminals where there isn't a net payoff at the end... like nearly all of them.

Right now, it appears some of the revenue from traffic fines pays for the detectives investigating theft, arson, fraud, missing persons, murder, hunting with out a license, public urination, vandalism, and so on.

Take away the traffic fines, and sure, you don't need nearly as much traffic enforcement, but they would also face a budget crisis within the rest of the department even if they let go of all the excess 'traffic enforcement' officers. Clearly that money to pay for regular police work is still going to have to come from somewhere. Raising local taxes is the obvious solution, whether its a tax-per-vehicle, or it gets added into property taxes, or whatever... its going to have to happen.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (0)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 6 months ago | (#47049129)

because there are no more speeding cars and reckless drivers

Except there won't be and most likely there is a good chance there will be more reckless drivers as they get frustrated at being caught behind cars driving the speed limit.

Years ago Virginia wanted to raise the cost of their speeding tickets to around $1,000 but only if the person was caught going 20 miles over the posted speed limit. People were howling about how awful it was, how it wasn't fair and couldn't the state just raise their taxes so they could continue to speed.

See this article [usatoday.com] for some comments, particularly this one:

"It's outrageous," says traffic court attorney Thaddeus Furlong of Springfield, Va. "When Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class find out what they have to pay, there's going to be a backlash like you've never seen."

something that makes the world better instead of being a necessary evil.

It's only a necessary evil because, to throw words back in people's faces, people refuse to live in a civilized society and not do things which endanger other people's lives such as speeding, talking on their cell phones while speeding, stiff-arming the steering wheel while speeding and talking on their cell phones, robbing, raping, and murdering people, to name just a few things.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049165)

Makes more sense to tax by miles driven. No need for GPS or anything, just use the odometer.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048937)

Fuck that. I've had two tickets in my life.

The cops should just do more with less. Works for the private sector. I can't afford fancy ass police cruisers and SWAT gear either, and I need it about as much as they do. Don't see me crying.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049003)

Or these municipalities could hire fewer cops and focus the cops they keep on actually protecting people instead of acting as meter maids with guns.

Just Tack on a Fee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049009)

Its not idiotic. Building roads cost money. In many countries that is financed by fuel taxes.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049145)

He was not saying there should not be a road maintenance fee, just that there should never be an unnecessary enforcement fee if enforcement is not necessary.

Re:Just Tack on a Fee (5, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 6 months ago | (#47049023)

Why should a car that won't be committing traffic infractions pay a fee for traffic infractions? That doesn't even come close to making sense. That's like saying everyone who puts on a seat belt should pay an extra fee to make up for "lost revenue" from fewer tickets for not wearing a seat belt.

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048771)

Good.

My Opinion... (3, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 6 months ago | (#47048781)

Good /GrumpyCat

Polite (2)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | about 6 months ago | (#47048783)

At least the car will be polite to the ticketing officer....

If vendor pays, mod your car (4, Funny)

AlienSexist (686923) | about 6 months ago | (#47048789)

"Gee Officer, I don't know why this thing is speeding"

Re:If vendor pays, mod your car (4, Funny)

sinij (911942) | about 6 months ago | (#47048955)

Is this wise? They know where you live. Plus, your car can tow away itself.

Re:If vendor pays, mod your car (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 6 months ago | (#47049141)

Citizen! Please step away from your vehicle as it drives itself to the impound lot!

Re:If vendor pays, mod your car (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 6 months ago | (#47049063)

If the vendor pays, then the vendor owns the brain in the car you bought rather than YOU owning the brain in YOUR car.
They will make modding the car illegal as they own it. And if they are liable for it's misbehavior, that even makes sense.

Do you want to live in a world where you own your property?
Or would you prefer to rent a license from the corporate overlords?

Re:If vendor pays, mod your car (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#47049195)

Do you want to live in a world where you own your property?

I take it you don't actually read EULAs...

Seriously, what makes you think, considering the way electronic/software law has gone, that the manufacturers won't make you sign a document that waives their responsibility AND your ownership of the machine, like, game consoles, or mobile phones, or [name something with hardware/software]? If I'm not legally allowed to modify the software in my 13 year old Xbox, I highly doubt I'd be allowed to do the same with a brand new auto-car.

Re:If vendor pays, mod your car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049183)

"Oh, OK, Then you don't mind if we tow it and you can only get it back after you pay for a full battery of tests showing that it's safe to let on the road again; it's for your own safety"

That sounds like great news (4, Insightful)

Andrio (2580551) | about 6 months ago | (#47048791)

Saving the common people several billions a year would send nothing but good vibrations up the economic chain. Yeah, some cops may lose their jobs, but the billions extra that people would have every year means other jobs get created elsewhere.

Re:That sounds like great news (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048881)

And direct and indirect public and private expenses due to traffic accidents will plummet saving much, much more than the speeding tickets could ever generate.

Re:That sounds like great news (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 6 months ago | (#47048885)

Saving the common people several billions a year would send nothing but good vibrations up the economic chain. Yeah, some cops may lose their jobs, but the billions extra that people would have every year means other jobs get created elsewhere.

There is no reason for any police to lose their job. Now the police can go back to doing what they are supposed to be doing. Traffic tickets aren't supposed to be a source of revenue. Every police office operating a radar gun and giving out traffic tickets is one less police officer available to go after real criminals.

Re:That sounds like great news (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049025)

This. The revenue for cops should come from state/local taxes, the money for the roads should be through the DMV/licensing fees (like it is in most of the places I've lived). If these cops don't need to be out stopping petty speeding crimes, that makes them available to bust the *real* criminals: politicians.

Re:That sounds like great news (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 6 months ago | (#47049119)

If they give out $300,000 in tickets each, I think it's safe to assume that every officer giving out tickets is about 1.5 doing something somewhere else. The officer giving out tickets to cover them self (which I assume is about $100k a year or so with benefits pay etc) and some extra overhead. In fact, if I read TFS correctly, police basically pay for themself with tickets, the rest of the funding going to over-head, and when they aren't writing tickets they do other things.

Re:That sounds like great news (1)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#47049211)

I like this world you imagine where police officers "go after real criminals". Sounds better than our world.

Re:That sounds like great news (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048939)

Unlike neoliberal economists I categorize economic activity by importance. Cops shaking down motorists for cash is a deadweight loss to the economy.

Re:That sounds like great news (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 6 months ago | (#47049071)

Yes

So now autonomous cars will be called a poor tax (-1, Flamebait)

ageoffri (723674) | about 6 months ago | (#47048793)

I can just see the outrage from the Democrats now about how only the well off can afford autonomous cars and don't pay any fines any more. So only the poor who have to drive manual cars get pulled over.

Re:So now autonomous cars will be called a poor ta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049039)

Can't wait for the Republicans to force everybody to "upgrade" to their contributor's autonomous systems.

Re: So now autonomous cars will be called a poor t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049131)

Because forcing people to buy a product that they don't want sounds a lot like Republicans....oh wait.

Translation: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048795)

A study released in 2009 examined data over a 13-year period in North Carolina, finding a 'statistically significant correlation between a drop in local government revenue one year, and more traffic tickets the next year'

The justice system and the police are primarily a revenue tool, to be unleashed as required, and controlled by factors other than the law.

And people wonder why the police are largely treated with mistrust and disdain.

If speeding tickets are just a shake down to pad out budgets, then the police are just flunkies, crooks and toll collectors.

Fuck the police.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049007)

Amen

Cops are worthless parasites (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048813)

Who needs them? They are basically worthless. Sure they are needed to help with the general order of society but the fact that their budgets are supported by the issuance and collection of monies from speeding tickets indicates a bigger problem - that the system is broken and needs to be re-worked.

There's no money lost... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048817)

There's no money lost here. Writing tickets didn't generate anything for the economy, other than perhaps the reduction in destruction of property. Clearly if driverless cars aren't breaking the laws, then that reduction is occurring in a much more efficient manner. Thus driverless cars are a net GAIN to the total economy, not a drain.

quick make them illegal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048827)

once driverless cars are illegal only criminals will...wait, uh, uh oh, looks like the police industry has a problem.

No thanks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048833)

I like the technology, but I believe I will always want to be the driver of the vehicle. I love driving...

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049091)

I would agree, if I lived any where fun to drive. I could see having a car to ferry me to my destination while I read a book or work on a notebook, and a car to have fun in.

Would a driver's license be needed for autonomous cars? Another hit in the funding.

This could potentially kill driverless cars (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048837)

Without the ticket revenue, now way will governments allow this. Insurance companies, who have large lobbying powers, won't like it either, as they will lose out on surcharge revenue.

Supply and Demand (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048843)

Less speeders means less traffic cops which means less need for traffic cops which means budget problem solved. Cops that exist to give traffic tickets will not be needed. After all, if traffic tickets pay their salary, and there are no more traffic tickets...sounds like supply and demand balancing things out just fine.

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048953)

The police that service my house are already geographically spread thin. Without the busywork (and revenue) of traffic violations, we might end up with one or two on-duty deputies for the entire county. What happens to my existing 30 minute life-threatening event response time at that point?

Re:Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049045)

What happens to my existing 30 minute life-threatening event response time at that point?

Why do you care? You'll be dead before they get there either way.

Re:Supply and Demand (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 months ago | (#47049171)

You acquire a gun, preferably one without a smart gun system.

Oh no! (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 6 months ago | (#47048845)

But, but what about our conflict of interest? How are we supposed to operate a law enforcement and public safety organization without making revenue collection part of enforcement? How are we going to make the system unfair if we start eliminating inherent conflicts of interest? It's totally unfair to the government, we must punish those people for not breaking the law by making them pay a fine. I mean that's what we already do in some states (like mine) to punish people who try to help the environment by driving green vehicles.

Seems to me that if enforcement actions are no longer necessary, then you won't need as big of a police force so the loss of revenue will be offset by not having to pay the salaries of all of those traffic cops. This is a non-issue.

Re:Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049109)

Don't worry. With any luck, those out-of-work cops will turn to a life of crime, thus creating a need for more cops. The only issue... how to pay for it.

Criminals fines, citations, whatever, shouldn't pay for law enforcement. I think it'd be better to have it funded by way of income tax or a tax on regional (not local) business income. Or maybe sales tax. Definitely not property tax as I have issues about that not being progressive.

Re:Oh no! (0)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 6 months ago | (#47049135)

I think there's a slight difference. Fuel taxes are (ostensibly) used to pay for the roads. The more you drive, the more you pay in fuel taxes. With EVs they're using the roads but no longer paying the taxes that fund the roads. One can argue whether the fuel tax should just be phased out and replaced with a fee at registration or something, but it's not completely ridiculous to ask EV drivers pay a fee to make up for the amounts for the roads that ICE drivers pay with fuel taxes.

Tickets, on the other hand, is ridiculous. If the self-driving cars don't break the law they shouldn't be expected to pay a tax to "make up" for not breaking the law.

Re:Oh no! (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#47049175)

Seems to me that if enforcement actions are no longer necessary, then you won't need as big of a police force so the loss of revenue will be offset by not having to pay the salaries of all of those traffic cops. This is a non-issue

Traffic enforcement is clearly revenue generating, over and above the cost of the enforcement itself.

Other police work, is clearly not. There is no revenue from solving a murder, or a missing person, nor for catching a rapist, or theif.

So the traffic enforcement was subsidizing the rest of the police work.

Take away the enforcenment revenue, sure, you can dump the enforcment division to offset a small part of the loss of revenue, but the rest of the police work is going to need a new revenue source to offset the removal of the enforcement revenue that was subsidizing it.

Taxes will have to go up.

Re: Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049209)

Quit whining about paying your share of road taxes. We already paid for a large portion of your luxury car and you are still wanting more of other people's money?

Wouldn't that be a shame (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 6 months ago | (#47048847)

So no more end-of-the-month speed traps by police departments to balance their budgets? Whatever will our police departments do for money? Reminds me of the outcry when The National Maximum Speed Law was eventually disregarded by almost every state and they raised their respective speed limits back up to 65mph on most highways -- because lowering it to 55mph did nothing to reduce accidents. Oh, the funds staties lost.

Re:Wouldn't that be a shame (3, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 6 months ago | (#47048903)

So no more end-of-the-month speed traps by police departments to balance their budgets? Whatever will our police departments do for money?

Wait, I've gotten speeding tickets before and I've always had to write the check to the city/county courthouse, not the police department.

Freeway Neutrality? (3, Interesting)

tranquilidad (1994300) | about 6 months ago | (#47048857)

Allow the local governments to charge more for faster lanes.

Oh, wait, they already do that in some localities [hctra.org] .

Re:Freeway Neutrality? (1)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#47048975)

I was giggling inside until I saw "katy" in that link and realized it was Houston. They're working to put "managed lanes" in Austin, too, on Mopac. At least in the case of Houston, they've had HOV lanes on I-10 almost forever. I'm not sure how they can tell whether you are HOV or not (the front window isn't enough, what if someone is in the back seat?), so I guess it's based on having HOV hours and toll hours, but they don't explicitly explain that.

Re:Freeway Neutrality? (1)

bigwheel (2238516) | about 6 months ago | (#47049015)

Or allow people to pay more for the luxury of driving 10 mph faster. (I'm being sarcastic.)

So what...? (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 months ago | (#47048863)

So law enforcement budgets will be lower, but the need for law enforcement will also be lower because you won't have to pay as many cops to run around patrolling the roads and writing tickets. Plus there will be fewer injuries and less property damage due to reckless driving, which means less economic waste.

If law enforcement legitimately needs more money, then raise taxes and pay for it. People keep talking like it's bad for the economy to permanently address problems because we'll have fewer jobs consisting of temporarily patching those problems. It's just another variation on the "broken window fallacy" [wikipedia.org] .

Kind of a problem ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#47048865)

current California law would have the person in the driver's seat responsible

The car is either driverless, or it isn't. Either the car maker is responsible, or the owner is.

But, really, who the hell is going to take liability for a device which says "I'm in charge of driving, you just sit there" right up until it goes into panic mode half a second before you impact with something and says "bummer dude, you're now in charge, evade quickly, liability transferred to passenger".

Sorry, but if I'm sitting there reading my newspaper or whatever, I'm not controlling the vehicle. If I'm responsible for controlling the vehicle, then I will actually be controlling the vehicle.

There's simply no room for a sudden shift in blame to the person in the drivers seat ... that makes no sense whatsoever.

And if the car suddenly loses its marbles and mows down a bunch of schoolkids, you think the cargo/passengers suddenly own responsibility for that?

This to me has always been the point at which driverless cars kind of fall apart, determining who is really in charge, and defining what that means.

Re:Kind of a problem ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048979)

Indeed. An automatic cruise control which will save me having to twist the steering wheel two degrees every minute on the highway makes some kind of sense. A car I can sit in and get drunk while it drives makes sense. I can't see how anything between those two makes sense.

If the car can't figure out what to do, there's no way I can take over and figure out what to do in the second or two before something disastrous happens. Particularly when highly-trained airline pilots have shown a marked tendency to fly perfectly good aircraft into the ground or sea when the autopilot hands control back to them a minutes before the crash.

Re:Kind of a ??? ... (1)

tiberus (258517) | about 6 months ago | (#47049185)

Driverless is not very accurate description of what is going on. Semi-autonomous seems a bit better but lacks marketing flash.

I'd suspect that no matter what the 'driver' is going to be given the ticket, maybe the 'car' gets a copy too. Some investigation will have to be done (and laws updated) to determine fault (what is you live in a no fault state). Was the car in autonomous mode? Was the firmware/software current? Did the driver ignore a warning?

The expectations of the driver will also have to be defined. Can the driver fall asleep? How much attention must the driver pay to the vehicle's operation?

Lot's of questions, not problems

tickets are punishment, not revenue sources (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 6 months ago | (#47048877)

When people are convicted of crimes, they are to be punished. Tickets are that document of infraction (crime punishable by fine). More severe punishments are misdemeanors and felonies (punishable by fines and/or free lodging at the slammer). So when governments use tickets as revenue sources, something has gone wrong in judicial process (yes, so what else new?).

Are they needed? (2)

Thyamine (531612) | about 6 months ago | (#47048889)

The question I'd like to see answered with data to back it up is how many time are officers out handing out moving vehicle violations vs. how much money do they bring in? If they weren't out spending time/budget on writing tickets, would additional work get done, or would there be superfluous staff that could be cut? I think it's important to have a well staffed police department should trouble occur, but if they are using tickets to increase their budget I question if they are just trying to support too much overhead.

Or properly fund the police force (5, Insightful)

sir_eccles (1235902) | about 6 months ago | (#47048893)

You know through taxes.

While you're at it how about properly funding schools through taxes rather than bake sales. Actually there are a lot of things that could benefit just by being properly funded by taxes.

Re:Or properly fund the police force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049043)

We already spend too much per student http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/

The problem is we fund it unevenly and we pay for too much overhead, far greater that our European counterparts for far little in the way of skills gained.

Law enforcement budgets are shams (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048901)

More and more departments are buying more and more stuff they simply don't need. More and more departments are starting up SWAT teams they don't need. I'm sorry, a town of 5,000 simply doesn't need a special weapons and tactics unit. They just don't. Studies have shown that when departments start up special units, guess what? They want to use those units. These units get paid more. Police salaries are already too high in many places. Police administration salaries are ridiculously high, some over $250,000. Admin salaries should be capped below 100k. Police salaries should be capped at well under 100k. Public servants should never be getting rich. All public service jobs should be capped.

For too long, police and cities have begun to rely on the "revenue" from tickets and parking citations. Parking I can see somewhat. But too many places have quotas that police have to meet with giving out citations rather than actually policing. All cities should require police to walk their beats for the first few years like they used to. Police have gotten away from this and as a result, the streets are worse, no one knows anyone else, and the police don't have a vested interest like they once did.

Enough of this nonsense.

Raise Taxes!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048905)

Sigh.

Driverless Car Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048907)

All states have to do is implement a driver's car tax.

I'm not a tax fan, by any means, but it seems to be the government's preferred choice for ruining society. I see no reason for it to not use this technique here.

Less Traffic Violations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048919)

Means less need for traffic cops. Maybe the police left will focus on real crimes instead.

How do you pull over a driverless car? (4, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 6 months ago | (#47048927)

Would it pull over if it sees the blinking lights / siren behind it?

Could you spoof it with a bunch of blinking xmas lights on the side of the road?

Re:How do you pull over a driverless car? (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 6 months ago | (#47049153)

Would it pull over if it sees the blinking lights / siren behind it?

Could you spoof it with a bunch of blinking xmas lights on the side of the road?

Actually a very interesting question - makes me wonder if driverless cars will have some law-enforcement override (some remote "pul over" switch) that's required for their usage.

Why is that a bad thing? (1)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | about 6 months ago | (#47048929)

Either move them to other types of crimes or let them go. I don't see why law enforcement should be immune to downsizing. If it's essential to keep these guys on the force, it shouldn't be hard to make the case to the taxpayers.

how total deception becomes our 'reality' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048949)

corepirate nazis & media mongrels control trade routes information etc... http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=weather+manipulation+wmd+seismic+starvation

Re:how total deception becomes our 'reality' (1)

linear a (584575) | about 6 months ago | (#47049005)

Godwin's Law tag

It would balance out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048951)

If driverless cars so outnumbered regular cars that police forces weren't receiving income from traffic citations, then there would also be a corresponding decrease in the need for traffic cops. Instead of (as I see now) two or three police cars parked together watching for multiple speeders, you could get by with only one (or maybe one on alternating days). At some point it might even be more economical for police forces as the need for traffic cops diminishes and forces can dedicate their budgets to other divisions.

cripple police now!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048971)

We can cripple those damned cops now. Just always obey every traffic law every single time. Then get some sort of personal satisfaction out of seeing their paychecks shrink.

Re:cripple police now!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049163)

Why is this modded down? It always kills me when poor people and minorities who hate police commit petty crimes which only gives police power over them and then lines the law enforcement industries pockets with fines and fees. If you hate cops the best way to stick it to them is to stop committing crimes! I wish poor people would understand this but then again if poor people were smart they wouldn't be poor...

Need more cops (4, Insightful)

linear a (584575) | about 6 months ago | (#47048987)

$6.2 gigabucks/year is $300K/officer? That means 20,667 officers for the whole country. Methinks one or more numbers here is fudge.

cia 'vaccinations' fatal to recipients & their (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049029)

aren't we inventive? http://rt.com/usa/160228-cia-vaccination-cover-clandestine-operations/

So? (4, Insightful)

azav (469988) | about 6 months ago | (#47049035)

The problem is "law enforcement" agencies using enforcement as revenue streams for cities and states.

This puts law enforcement against the very people they are supposed to serve and protect.

Weighted Dice (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 6 months ago | (#47049047)

Apparently there is a strong case to be made that traffic fines are a covert source of taxation. Therefore we need to make laws that insure that the cities, states and counties lose a bit of money every time a ticket is written. We must insure that there is no financial motive for traffic law enforcement. This a a huge example of the rut that modern times impose upon us. Unfair, unreasonable, traffic enforcement just might be the only way we have to prevent criminal chaos from ruling the streets and businesses of our nation. I doubt that the public has any awareness of how laws actually cause crimes. Here is an example: A state makes laws that no felon may receive any form of welfare or public support. Next the courts rule that a felon will be released after 36 months in prison. Then the economy caves in and nobody can get a job. The felon is released on his due date. naturally he can not get any job at all. He also can not get Unemployment Insurance or any form of welfare. Society goes blind and pretends that the newly released inmate will just calmly starve to death in the rain without committing another crime. The inmates release carried a parole requirement that he work and have a place to live. They might as well have required him to walk on water. Then when he inevitably breaks the law the judge will point out how the felon has failed to reestablish himself in the community. That is even more absurd than it sounds as the parole officer would never allow the former convict to relocate himself in a county in which work was available. And booby prize of the century goes to the state of Utah where a 12 year old boy impregnated his 13 year old girlfriend. Then the state decides that since both were legally children they raped each other. I wonder whether for purposes of trial they will be tried as adults.

Obscene (2)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 6 months ago | (#47049059)

If the system is funded in large part by criminalizing a behavior so consistent and common that it can fund life-long full time salaries with benefits and pensions, then it's a system worth dismantling. Defending the need to criminalize otherwise law abiding adults for budgetary purposes is obscenely poor governing. If we, as a society, deem the crime important enough to stop, and it's rampant enough to be an epidemic, make an earnest effort to stop the crime. If it's really not that big of a deal, change the laws to reflect that. Riding the sweet spot where it's not enough of a penalty, consistently enough, to really dissuade people from doing it, yet it's enough to be profitable for the people exacting the fines, is unethically exploitative. If your government department needs funding, then get it through taxes, not extortion.

Re:Obscene (1)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 6 months ago | (#47049079)

(queue the comments about taxes being extortion)

Slashdot Car Analogy (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 6 months ago | (#47049075)

So this would be like those autonomous traffic light camera's issuing automatic tickets, which it totally about driver safety and totally not about the creation of a revenue stream.

Issuing speeding tickets should be about you know "law enforcement" and "public safety", not the generation of wealth.

In the new world we are heading, autonomous cars would likely be tamper proof (unless at a properly registered service prefecture), and should a seal be broken, its location would be immediately transmitted for mandated police violence action, who could then dispatch a drone to take care of it. Regular patrol, and even automated remote surveillance will be totally unnecessary, as that will all be taken can of by the car itself.

Next, bicycles and pedestrians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049081)

I've been ticketed twice for failing to stop at stop signs. On my bicycle.

So, all those bicyclists violating traffic laws, and all those pedestrians jaywalking, could be a major source of revenue.

Revenue from violations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049107)

It always amazed me that government organizations are allowed to roll fines and penalties into their operations budget. Doesn't that just force those who are tasked with stopping crime to rely on it as a source of revenue?

Highway robbery is the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049115)

Just let highway patrol stop random vehicles and require drivers pay certain amount. For example there could be no blue car days when highway patrol would have the right to fine people just for being in a blue car. Fine amounts should be sufficient for law enforcement and local governments yet they should not irritate people too much. It would be like a reverse lottery. After all if people keep $100 a month for crap cable and another $100 for cell phone why can't they spend some money on a good cause? I think that random fines are awesome.

DC just put in its 160th speed camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049133)

I guess with self driving cars they'll have to raise money the old fashioned way ... civil forfeiture.

Costs are not fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049143)

Very likely the money saved on not having police officers driving around looking for people to issue tickets to would exceed the reduction in tickets paid. Not to mention the savings from reduced emergency activities because of fewer crashes due to driver failure.

Ergo, it's not a problem.

solution: captcha road signs (1)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | about 6 months ago | (#47049151)

Easy, change the road signs over to captcha problems making it difficult for driver less cars to determine the speed limit or road instructions.

In other news: lack of maniacal killers bankrupts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049155)

... police.

Not to worry, a number of replacements are being trained.

Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049179)

U.S. Highway Patrol. Any ideas who this is? I'm unaware of a Federal Highway Patrol.

bad math here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049197)

Some crazy math - according to this, as of 2008, there were between 700,000 and 1.2 million State and local police -
http://justice.uaa.alaska.edu/forum/28/2-3summerfall2011/f_lawenf_census.html

Wikipedia puts it at 780,000 - I wonder where they got their figure of $300,000 per officer = 21,000 officers.?

Coming soon to a street near you (4, Funny)

thewils (463314) | about 6 months ago | (#47049199)

Driverless car pulled over by driverless cop car and given a ticket.

It is just nonsense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47049201)

Driverless cars will minimize the number of accidents - saving the society enormous amounts (firedepartment, hospitals, ambulance, police, sick-pay etc etc etc)

Bad Funding Model (1)

RichMan (8097) | about 6 months ago | (#47049213)

If the government operations, police etc, are reliant on speeding tickets and other fines to operate then there is a serious problem with the funding model for that operation.

A very serious self interested model that should have been rejected from conception by a rational society.

Ok the civil structure is funded by fineing people for misbehaving. Means that the civil structure either requires that people misbehave or that people who are not misbehaving get ticketed anyways. The pressure will then be on the members of that structure to invent new ways to find people misbehaving and fine them.

A very broken system that will gear up and attack people for minor infractions. This system is broken and should be dismantled and shame on those who set it up in the first place.

This type of system is fairly irrational, but common, due to peoples inability to think that they might be the victims of such a penalty system.

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