I returned from vacation last summer to find I was supposed to pay for a plastic bag in the supermarket. My city had banned single use plastic bags.
Now there aren’t any plastic bags blowing around my neighborhood. There weren’t any before, either, but the motive wasn’t really to stop a nonexistent litter problem.
The goal was to keep up with the latest trends in lawmaking. We have to be as progressive as California.
In traffic, too, some laws become fashionable.
A couple decades ago somebody invented the idea of fine doubling. That was soon proved not to work, but not soon enough. The law became trendy and infected the entire country.
Somebody else came up with the idea of ticketing drivers who don’t change lanes when passing a stopped police car. Again, studies showed it didn’t work. But too late, it was a fashion trend.
Now we have the push for “distracted driving” laws. We know they don’t work, and we know why they don’t work. The type of drivers who use cell phones aren’t going to start driving well because you took their toys away.
But distracted driving is NHTSA’s new shiny, and they won’t let it go until they come up with a new way to separate drivers from their wallets.
What these laws do is encourage police to create new forms of traps instead of looking for bad drivers. They’ll enforce a fines doubled “work zone” speed trap when there hasn’t been a worker on the road for the past month. That lone police car with lights flashing is probably running a “move over” trap, creating a hazard just to see who doesn’t change lanes fast enough. The best time to get a cell phone ticket is when you’re stopped at a light; you can still get away with texting while driving.
And we have paper bags that tear if you fill them halfway.
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