Reasonable traffic laws are arguably necessary for public safety, but some politicians regard them as just another fat source of government revenue.
Speeding tickets give motorists a good reason to obey speed limits, ostensibly for the safety of all motorists using the roadway. Reporting tickets to the Dept of Motor Vehicles identifies chronic speeding violators who need additional encouragement to drive safely. Again, the concern is supposed to be public safety.
That’s why in
, like many states, all traffic tickets are required by law to be reported to the state DMV for the assessment of points which can lead to much higher car insurance rates and the loss or suspension of one’s drivers’ license. Government wants to root out bad drivers if possible. South Carolina
It’s all about public highway safety, right?
It’s more about money than safety in South Carolina.
South Carolina is up against an $800 million budget shortage these days. State lawmakers there need to raise more cash. So they cooked up a bright idea to get it from small time speeders, caught driving less than 10 mph over the limits, who want to avoid DMV points on their drivers’ licenses.
Here’s how it works: A low-level speeder would be pulled over by the cops and given the option of paying a normal $15 to $25 fine, to be reported to DMV for the assessment of points; or a $150 fine, which is 10 times the current minimum, but no report to the DMV, and no assessment of points.
"If it doesn't get reported, most people don't mind paying," explained one lawmaker in an effort to rationalize the blatant hypocrisy.
So rooting out bad drivers in South Carolina to protect public highway safety is less important than the opportunity to collect 10 times the normal fine from prosperous traffic scofflaws who want to avoid deservedly high insurance premiums or the loss of their driving privileges. The poor guy who can’t afford a $150 fine will just have to face the normal legal consequences.
Not long ago in
, gambling, as a matter of public safety, was branded by public welfare minded politicians as a criminal offense in every state except America . Gambling is addictive, immoral, and leads families to financial ruin, the story always went. Gambling is bad. Gambling is dangerous. People need to be protected from gambling. Nevada
That’s always the government rationale for banning something. But when the same politicians discovered how much money can be made with gambling, all the public safety hypocrisy was casually shunted aside, and new lotteries created by the score. The most outrageous sucker bet ever invented has to be the lottery, but the state feels they’re fabulous for making money as long as they have a monopoly on them.
Now gambling is great harmless family fun, under state control, of course. The history of liquor laws is similar. If recreational drugs like marijuana are ever decriminalized in America, it won’t be to further the cause of liberty, but for the collection of money.
It’s called public safety hypocrisy.