We have become a nation of law-breakers. You don’t believe me? Try to drive on almost any road at the speed limit. Sit near any stop sign for a while. Watch. How many cars did you pass? How many cars came to a full “stop” as mandated by law? Not many in either case, I suspect.
The paradox is that both situations are examples of behaviors that, though against the law, are not necessarily dangerous. If the driver were observed and caught by the police, however, it could result in a moving violation. Three moving violations can result in losing one’s driver’s license.
I don’t want dangerous drivers on the road. Neither do I want to encourage disrespect for our laws. Considering that more than 40,000 people are killed on US highways annually, and there are millions of collisions, trying something different should be in order. (Many activities are just prohibited and a lot of not-for-profit organizations are generously supported to deal with social problems that hurt many fewer people.) Based on everyday observations, it seems that very few people take our traffic laws seriously. Beyond that, visit traffic court and see attorneys “getting people off” or people being allowed to “see a movie” rather than being convicted of a moving violation. Today’s rules and practices are not helping us.
Yes, let’s get dangerous drivers off the road. Dangerous behaviors should result in loss of a driver’s license, as they are supposed to now. There are many traffic law violations, though, that might better be treated as revenue generators. (Make people pay for the privilege.) In general an “illegal” act that does not result in personal injury or property damage might be in this category. If a driver might be caught in 10 “speed traps” per year, why take a valuable revenue source off the road? (According to our present laws he/she should be gone after the third.) If a driver hits something, that’s a different matter.
Realistically, when consequences are clear and consistent, behavior is adjusted. When we behave ourselves, there is more time and money to do what we want.