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Transportation Crime The Almighty Buck

Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets 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 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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Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

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  • Freeway Neutrality? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tranquilidad ( 1994300 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @02:37PM (#47048857)

    Allow the local governments to charge more for faster lanes.

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

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @02:43PM (#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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @02:57PM (#47049127)
    Hopefully people will come to their senses and outlaw tobacco and alcohol while simultaneously legalizing marijuana.
  • Re:Oh no! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @03:11PM (#47049301) Homepage Journal
    I would have believed that, except that my state lowered the gas tax as the same time they added the flat tax for efficient vehicles. It was just the state government sticking it to the eco-hippies so they can get a break on their gas budget for their enormous pickup trucks.
  • by aurizon ( 122550 ) <bill.jackson@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @03:20PM (#47049423)

    As we speak, we have large penalties for all the driving offences, speeding, not stopping, bad lane changes and signal failures. The main reason is the large cost of the police and court system.
    I suggest they impose a summary fine amount, with no points or other consequences, of $10 on each offence and use traffic cams to impose them. The ticket would have a choice of $10 pay and be done with it or $300 for a court appearance, plus driver demerit points and insurer notification of a trial discovers guilt. Usually guilt with a cam is quite easy to establish = sure to lose.

    I feel most people with pay the $10 and it will act as a deterrent. They could also mandate a court appearance if over 5 of these occurred within 30 days to eliminate rich scofflaws.

    As it is now, people are forced to fight and win/lose, the system costs rise.

  • by Pax681 ( 1002592 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:12PM (#47050027)

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

    well there someone who hasn't a clue about what the effect on an outright ban on alcohol does....ever heard of prohibition and what happened there in America??
    it created a massive criminal industry along with masses of violence and death... mostly from bullets but also from VERY badly made alcohol which poisoned people.Which is to say it created FAR MORE pr4oblems than it cured... in fact it cured NONE....

    so perhaps before opening your sanctimonious mouth and letting your belly rumble... know what you are talking about first.

  • by brainboyz ( 114458 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:51PM (#47050539) Homepage

    As someone that occasionally and responsibly brews and enjoys alcohol, but is allergic to MJ: fuck off.

  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:52PM (#47050551) Journal

    While I can't quite say tailpipe emissions are a complete non-issue, there are only a handful of cities in the US where they even matter a little. ULEV and better cars really don't matter unless the air above your city never circulates with the outside world (which does actually happen in a couple of places).

    But that's all a dodge. Forcing other people to drive less has been core to leftwing philosophy for decades now. It all about tribal identification, not about anything practical. (Which is why the Tesla throws the right for a spin: it's a really nice American car, but then it's a hippie electric car that might as well come with a "Coexist" bumpersticker, such cognitive dissonance!)

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982