As another holiday (Thanksgiving) weekend begins in Canada, police in many jurisdictions are saying they will be out in force on the roads watching for drivers committing such infractions as speeding, texting, not wearing their seatbelts and, of course, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
By being visible, police all over the world know they will deter people from violating the rules of the road, especially speeding: drivers tend to check their speed and slow down if necessary when they see a police car in the distance.
All good, yes? I’m sure police visibility contributes to a decrease in violations — and accidents and road deaths.
So why then do police on so many roads and highways — freeways in the United States — do their best to make themselves invisible, hiding out behind snowbanks or behind the pillars under overpasses etc?
Yes, I can hear you giggling now — just like my g/f did when I mentioned what I am writing about.
Sure, I know such speed traps — because that is exactly what they are — give the police an opportunity to ticket drivers and raise revenue for the government. But if they had been visible from the outset, the speeders might have been reminded to check their speed and probably would have slowed down — and there would have been no need to hand out a ticket.
When police hide out and concentrate their efforts on catching a few speeders to raise revenue, thousands of drivers are not getting what they are paying for with their licensing and car registration fees and taxes: a visible police force on the roads, and in effect, safer roads.
I think there is a double standard. Police visibility is about making the roads safe. Speeds traps are about abandoning the responsibility of visibility in order to make money.
Police visibility to deter violations should be more important than police stealth and camouflage to raise money for the government.
Happy weekend, everyone . . . and do watch yourselves on the roads.