Sunday, March 27, 2011

Speeding and Camera's and Ticket's - Oh My!

I was reminded about another transition we'll have in returning to the States - Driving.

I was reading an article re: Highway camera's being used in a few selective locations in the US and the controversy that accompanies them. Some have been removed because it gives the "impression" that the camera's are just there to generate revenue. In spite of the fact that statistic's prove there are fewer vehicle collisions and fatalities when camera's are in use. Oh, and most of the people complaining are those who received tickets.

The camera's in these highway circumstances give advance warning (signs on the road) and there is a "give" or "cushion" built in so that a ticket is not triggered for going a bit over: in an example, a ticket was issued for going 81 in a 70 zone (with a warning sign preceding the camera trigger). Plus, no ticket is enforced when there is doubt re: the driver.

I can't find the url of the article right now or I'd link it. But it got me thinking. I have no problem with this type of camera setup. Maybe I've become immune living in Switzerland. There are camera's all over the place.

Unlike the UK, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, etc..., Switzerland does NOT post a warning sign with it's highway radar camera's: Nor with the local radar boxes (we have one right down the street), nor the temporary ones they hide ever-so-often on a well trafficked road, NOR in street intersections. Considering the speed limit on the Highway (Autobahn) is 120 (75mph), there isn't really a need to go much faster (most of the time!).

Except I like to drive fast so I'll push it a little on certain stretches. And if safety is improved by enforcing speed limits, is that so bad? The camera's are cheaper than people. The US is so large and widespread, how can cities/counties/states expect to improve safety when they can't afford the manpower? How is it violating rights when that someone is already violating the law?

I've received 5 love letters from various Cantonal Polizei divisions since we moved here. Nothing too painful - smallest was for going 2km over the "cushion" limit and largest for going 95km on the Autobahn when the limit was still 80km (I thought it had already switched to 100km) - 7 over the cushion.

I've not had a love letter in 2.5 years now and I don't intend to get one in the next 3 months. I stick to "round about the limit" and think about my girls who walk/cross the streets here - and I want others to stick to the limit too. I'm a rule follower - most of the time. But I do like to drive fast. One more trip planned to Germany before the move!

Right turns, traffic lights, traffic circles, right of way and pedestrian traffick all have their nuances too. There are aspects of some that I'll miss but overall look forward to getting back to "my normal."

Hey - I didn't bring up the school parking lot. Still verboten in our house. There was an incident shortly after my last post re: the school parking lot - fortunately no one was hurt.

So - all that said, I will miss flying down the Autobahn with the mountains in the distance and the green hills surrounding me. I love how in Spring, all the 'fair weather' cars come out of their garages (similar to cold weather States). The neighbor has her little Porsche all cleaned up, the Aston Martins, Ferrari's and Maserati's hum by and well, Bart cleaned and vacuumed ours before his near departure. My Volvo that I love even though I said I'd never have a Volvo back when I was young and single.

What is the regular speed limit on the highway in CA now? AND How long before I get a love letter from the CHP do you think? It would be a first. :)

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