The Case Against Traffic Laws

The average American pays around 56 percent of their adjusted income in all state, local, and federal taxes – not to mention the hidden tax of inflation courtesy of Federal Reserve meddling, which has devalued our currency by over 95 percent over the last century.

If that wasn’t enough, like vultures, highway men of all stripes are sent out by the state to embezzle and extort even more from us for any one of a million ridiculous laws or regulations.

Even failing to signal when turning may result in being hunted down, embarrassed in your community, pulled over, treated like a criminal, having your property ransacked, and written a ticket for an exorbanant amount.

And that’s just the beginning. The next frontier in revenue collection has arrived. Computers attached to speeding and red-light cameras now read our license plates and automatically send tickets to our homes. This is already common practice in many states across the nation like Maryland and Ohio – though citizens are putting up a fight.

Rather than attempting to help the people they claim to serve by refusing to extort them for meaningless and victimless crimes like drug possession and moving violations, police agencies have responded with mass-ticketing blitzkriegs.

One of note was revealed last year when a local news investigation found that Atlanta area police and parking enforcement wing Park Atlanta were issuing almost double the number of tickets normally written in prior years.

Park Atlanta wrote 141,000 tickets in 2010. In 2012 they wrote 221,000, the investigation found, with the city receiving millions of dollars in extra revenue.

Mayor Kasim Reed predictably said at the time that money was not the motivation for the increase. “The ticket and traffic enforcement process is actually a tool in combating crime,” Reed said. “One of the off-shoots of that is you do have an increase in revenue. “Police will be issuing more tickets to keep more people safe.”

Its not hard to understand that like war, law is a racket. Most Americans, even if not particularly proficient, instinctively know this. Like locust they descend upon us – the parasitic agents and enforcers of the state. Thomas Jefferson wrote, listing the crimes of King George in the Deceleration of Independence, “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

We face the exact same situation today only instead of a foreign tyrant expropriating and using us, it is domestic traitors and petty local tyrants. According to statistics compiled by Statistic Brain Research Institute, 112,000 people receive a speeding ticket every day in America at the average cost of $152 a piece. That means out of a possible 196,000,000 drivers on the road, 41,000,000 are ticketed for speeding annually  – over 20 percent.

That puts the total amount of money paid in speeding tickets per year by American citizens at around $6,232,000,000 making the average annual speeding ticket revenue per U.S. police officer $300,000, with only 5 percent of ticketed drivers contesting the fines in court.

And is it any wonder they don’t? By the time one invests the time and money fighting something in court, even if they win, it is the system that always wins in the long run. Also keep in mind that the aforementioned stats relate only to speeding violations. (It appears governments don’t keep track of how many tickets they write.)

But traffic laws are a necessary evil right? Well, consider some of the evidence to the contrary you may not be familiar with.

Less traffic laws MORE safety

no traffic lightsAs far as safety is concerned, studies have shown that things like speed limits have no positive effect. In fact, they have a negative effect and can actually make roads more dangerous. Especially when set too low. Also, studies and observations made in towns that have lost electric power or had all their street signs are covered up, found that instead of chaos ensuing, traffic actually tends to moves faster, with more efficiency as the road becomes safer, and people naturally negotiate themselves around each other.

Behavioral psychologist, Dr. John Staddon says traffic laws actually make streets more dangerous by continuously training drivers to rely on signs instead of their own judgment, cultivating what psychologists call “inattentional blindness.”

Staddon says a lesson should be taken away from the UK’s approach to traffic control. There are very few mandatory stops. The stop “signs” are just dashes in the road, and they don’t really mean stop, just yield. Instead of four-way stop signs, “roundabouts” are utilized whose only rule is to yield to traffic coming from the right. Also, in the UK, speed limits are determined by road type, and are not set as arbitrarily as they are in the U.S.

The result, Staddon says, was a 36 percent lower traffic fatality rate per mile from 2003 to 2006 than the U.S.

When looking at traffic-related death statistics around the would, it would first appear countries with fewer traffic laws have higher fatality rates. Going by sheer numbers alone, this may be correct, but large countries like China, India and Brazil are the most populated in the world.

Lack of infrastructure and medical care predictably can account for some of this disparity also, but when examining the data per 100,000 vehicles on the road, a different picture emerges. Even when looking at experiments of repealing traffic laws and regulations in western cities, the truth is made clear.

According to a 2006 Der Speigel article, the number of traffic accidents in Drachten, a city in the Netherlands, “declined dramatically” after traffic rules were repealed by traffic guru Hans Monderman, who replicated similar successes in other cities in Germany, Denmark, and Great Britain.

“The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior,” Monderman, who is now dead, said. “The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles.”

Monderman makes a good point here. Victimless crime laws can prevent nothing and generally have the opposite of their desired affect. People aren’t just idiots that can’t get by without the benevolence of government stop signs.

I mean, think about it. If traffic laws didn’t exist, would you just dive aimlessly without paying any attention? Of-coarse not, you would pay more attention – as a beautiful and spontaneous order emerges on the roads free from the coercive and dead hand of the state.

Aspects of the Monderman Model have been also been tested in the U.S. in places like West Palm Beach, where the reconfiguration of traffic layout and laws resulted in a doubling of property values as increased pedestrian traffic attracted new shops and apartment buildings.

  • Todd Kroeger

    I’m living in the Philippines… lack of traffic enforcement is not a good thing…. so many idiots on the roads you have no idea where to look for the next one. One thing you know, they are probably on a motorcycle or driving with a commercial license like a taxi, v-hire or tricycle.

  • Marc Goodman

    When I lived in a fairly affluent mostly white area on Long Island I never got a red light camera ticket. When I moved to a minority neighborhood I received several camera citations. My driving habits hadn’t changed at all. I think they target low income minority communities. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  • achim

    thats why we have no Cupholder in German Cars…. no way in hell take a sip while goin’ 120MPH!