Speed cameras aren't exactly the most popular devices among motorists, but they may be about to get more annoying. The Daily Mail is reporting government officials in Finland are testing a camera that not only has the ability to ticket speeders, but can also assess whether you're wearing a seat belt, tailgating the car in front of you or are behind on your registration or auto insurance. If the camera, dubbed the ASSET, detects a violation, it uses a satellite uplink to send the information to police instantly.
The system, which costs about $80,000 a pop, is being tested for the European market, where speed cameras are much more widespread than in the U.S. But with more and more municipalities in the U.S. adopting speed cameras to supplement budgets with fine income and to reduce the number of police officers on the payroll, it’s not a stretch to think it may make it to U.S. shores eventually.
I've got mixed feelings on this. I know obeying speeding laws benefits public safety and all. But I have to admit I hate the few speed cameras deployed in my area. Even when I'm sure I'm not violating any traffic laws, something about driving past a speed camera makes me feel really tense. Maybe it's the fact you don't have any idea at the time that you're in trouble and instead get a $300 surprise in the mail.
Still, I think tailgating and not wearing your seat belt are probably more dangerous behaviors than driving a few miles over the speed limit, so if we're going to have robotic enforcement, let's enforce traffic rules that actually save lives.
What do you think? Are these advanced speed cameras a good idea? Would you want them on busy streets in your neighborhood?