Who are these serial speeders?
Don't you just love a good chart? One that really tells a story?
This one comes from the Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight's recent report on the county's speed camera program, using data collected by the county police. It shows the number of tickets issued per vehicle -- and it's oddly fascinating.
So two-thirds of the vehicles that were ticketed were caught only once. One might infer that their drivers got the message and slowed down -- at least in the camera zones. Another 19 percent needed another $40 reminder. Together the one-time and two-time losers account for 86 percent of those ticketed.
So who are these other folks? Who is driving the seven vehicles that accumulated 30 or more tickets within a two-year period? What is going through the heads of the drivers of the 1,667 "frequent flyers" who accumulated more than 10 tickets over 24 months?
Here's a theory: There is a small but very dangerous cadre of drivers who have a total contempt for speed laws combined with an arrogant belief in their invulnerabity and a narcissistic focus on their own convenience at the expense of others' safety. These are people who are highly likely to eventually cause a serious crash but who fiercely resent any government efforts to curb their behavior.
The current speed camera law treats the 30th offense with no more severity than the first offense. Wouldn't it make sense to have an escalating scale of penalties? For instance a fine of $400 for the 10th ticket in a two-year window.
To anticipate an argument, I'm fully aware that the camera program targets vehicles rather than drivers. And certainly people occasionally lend out those vehicles to friends and family. But most drivers do most of the driving in their own cars. And if they are repeatedly lending out their vehicles to dangerous drivers, why should they not be held accountable?