Noncompliance Leads to a Victory for Liberty
July 22, 2010 by Dan Mitchell
I’m glad I read Instapundit, because my day has been made brighter by the news that Arizona’s statists have given up on their money-grubbing speed camera program. Here’s a cheerful story
which explains that widespread noncompliance was the key.
Dozens of photo-enforcement cameras on freeways throughout the state are coming down this week. A total of 76 cameras will cease operation on Thursday. …While the cameras have done a good job at snapping speeders, drivers have been ignoring the tickets. According to the Department of Public Safety, the cameras led to more than 700,000 tickets in the first year of operation. Many of those people, however, never paid the fines. …Any driver who ignored a photo-enforcement ticket was supposed to have been served. One problem was that process servers were inundated and simply couldn’t get to everybody. If a person was not served, his or her ticket became invalid after three months. The speeding tickets should have generated about $90 million in the first year of the program. About one-third of that was actually collected.
And here’s a website with further details
, including about how one group of activists were vandalizing the revenue cameras. As the person who wrote the article says, “I say to the people of Arizona: Bravo! How very American of you.”
The State, as an institution, thrives on confrontation. The best antidote is peaceful non-compliance. Simply ignore the State, disengage, and the State is rendered impotent. Through the highway camera system, it was hoped that an additional burst of revenue would roll in. Instead, it became a massive drain on the state’s budget. Not only did it not bring in the hoped-for revenue, it didn’t even make enough money to pay for expense of installing and maintaining the cameras. The citizens simply ignored the tickets that arrived in the mail. The state of Arizona doesn’t have the money nor the resources to follow up on the unpaid tickets. To top that all off, a group of activists went around vandalizing the traffic cams ‘” icing on the cake.
Allow me to conclude with my personal experiences. I’ve been nailed by speed (revenue) cameras twice. In both cases, the speed limits were set absurdly low. In one case, it was a 45-mph limit on a stretch of interstate highway. In the other case, a 25-mph limit on a six lane major artery. Sadly, I had to pay. But the real outrage is that there is no plausible explanation for those speed limits/camera placements other than to rip off drivers. I just hope someday I have jury duty and the case is about somebody arrested for vandalizing a camera.