The War On Cars

File under Policing For Profit.

From a recent newsletter of the National Motorists Association:

Even though drivers constitute what should be the largest voting block in the country, you would never know it by apathetic motorists who drive blissfully unaware until they are confronted with the reality of the war on cars—which is essentially an effort to get people out of their cars for good through regulations that impede traffic flow, policing for profit and taxation through tolls.

It’s the “policing for profit” that I find most disturbing.

Policing for profit takes place in two separate ways. One is Civil Asset Forfeiture, the other is lowering speed limits to levels not necessary for traffic safety but ideal for raising revenue by speeding fines. The NMA wonders why this doesn’t move motorists to protest the “war on cars.” Both are tyrannical, but it’s the second that I want to address here. It’s actually a war on drivers conducted by an unholy coalition of bureaucrats, politicians and insurance companies.

Here’s a little test anyone can perform to get an idea of just how ignorant, apathetic and foggy-brained about 80% of motorists really are: Next time you are in a group of 3 or more people (not NMA members) try to start a conversation on speed traps and how they are the result of a coalition between government and insurance companies to fleece everyone who drives. In other words, almost all traffic enforcement is for revenue, not safety. I believe you will find that others are not as much interested in this as you are. The conversation will probably not reach take off speed.

But start talking about parking tickets and you are likely to get a quite different response. You will see your companions moved to a level of anger you haven’t seen in them before. It seems that getting a parking ticket will raise the ire of people in a way a speeding ticket does not.

This is nuts. Speeding tickets have collateral consequences much greater than parking tickets. Insurance premiums can go through the roof over a single speeding ticket of just a few miles over the posted limit. The speed limit itself may be, probably is, intentionally posted lower than traffic in order to make it easy to write tickets, turning cops into armed tax collectors.

Get a second ticket within a year of a first one and your insurance is likely to be canceled at renewal time. A third ticket within 3 years may cost you your driving license. Why would an insurance company want to lose a high-paying customer? Why would the authorities want to take your license? Remember, they both care about your money much more than your or anyone else’s safety. So why do they want to drive their best-paying customers away?

They aren’t really driving you away. Being canceled by your insurance company will make it difficult for you to get coverage elsewhere. But not to worry, your company probably has a high-risk affiliate company willing to insure you. You’ll just need to take out a second mortgage to pay the premium. As for your local and state government, they know they can count on you driving suspended out of necessity, and when they catch you at that they can make a haul like no speeding violation will ever compare. It’s always the same whether it’s your government or your insurance company. You lose, they win.

Nobody cares much about any of that. But parking tickets drive them mad. Parking tickets will move them to protest. Moving violations never will, it seems. Many that I have talked to say they are not concerned because, after all, they deserved the ticket they got. I asked them if they deserved the increase cost of insurance. Yes, they think they deserve that too. I should start an insurance company so I can tap that bottomless money pit.

I doubt there has ever in world history been a better situation for roving bandits to intercept and rob travelers on the road. The victims live under the delusion that they deserve it!

One last point on the parking ticket/speeding ticket dichotomy. I don’t think I deserve a speeding ticket because I don’t actually speed. I don’t place myself or others in any danger. I just exceed the phony-baloney posted limit which is set for revenue not traffic safety.  But unlike my interlocutors, I do think I deserve a parking ticket when I get one. After all, I know up front the amount of time for which I have rented the parking space. I know that if I fail to move my car before the time expires I’ll be in violation of an implied contract that I made voluntarily. So when I get the parking citation, I have no one to blame but myself. I deserve it. I pay it right away.

All this has to be the explanation for why it’s so hard to organize a popular movement against the war on cars. Most drivers think their biggest problem is other drivers, not the bureaucrats, politicians and insurance companies who see motorists as a giant ATM machine with a bottomless bin of cash of which they alone have the code for withdrawals.

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