Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

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moiraemachy
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby moiraemachy » Thu May 29, 2014 12:10 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Just read this thread for the first time.

You guys are scary.
I would like to thank Ormurinn for being the one sane person here.

Car accidents are a huge fucking problem. And there is a shitload of evidence that going juust a little faster substantially increases the risk and severity of accidents(who knew, right?). And people pretty much always think it's ok to drive juust a little faster. Until you source the shit out of the theory that no (or substantially higher) speed limits would be an improvement, arguing for that is just entitled "but I wanna go faster. I just know I can handle it".

That "it works in the european countryside" thing? Not enough.

No, not overreacting. Look at this:

Cleverbeans wrote:I think of speeding tickets as a luxury tax.
Nem wrote:I'm not a big fan of strict adherence to the law.
nicklikesfire (emphasis mine) wrote:it undermines the effectiveness of the police in more serious matters.
Tyndmyr wrote:that one person in the fast lane doing 55 out of some sense of moral outrage when everyone is doing 70 is the danger.


Listen. If speed limit fines are used by stupid government as some kind of ninja tax, the concept of speed limits is not to blame. The way of enforcing it is.

morriswalters
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Thu May 29, 2014 12:11 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Even if you took it to the extreme of dispensing with signs altogether(which is more than most suggest), people wouldn't drive the same speed everywhere. A windy road is naturally going to induce a different driving speed than a freeway. Drivers don't particularly want to crash, which I suspect is what morris was getting at. Even if it's not physically risky, who wants to tear up their car? If the possibility of death and significant financial expense doesn't discourage someone from something, a minor fine probably isn't going to either.
Actually I have been poking fun at the justifications people use, including me, for speeding. It isn't very rational. As a practical matter lone wolves get hit. Run with the pack and you will get by in most cases, except for speed traps. Selective enforcement represents, to me, a way of saying that speeding "here" has moved outside the safe envelope. It lets people know that enforcement is looking and prepared to act if they feel they need to. It isn't worth what it would cost to stop it and in most cases they don't try.

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Azrael
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Azrael » Thu May 29, 2014 12:26 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:I'd never exceed the speed limit on a stretch of road intentionally, except in a real emergency, and I genuinely can't fathom the attitude of someone who would.

Ormurinn wrote:I think speeding on those roads is still problematic, but if anyone had clarified that they only speed in areas with no pedestrians I'd probably have been less freaked out.

I'm hoping there is an element of cultural disconnect at play here; that speeding in the UK isn't a normal, everyday behavior. Because, on the surface, these two statements made by someone in the US would put them entirely out of touch with reality.

Exceeding speed limits by 5 or 10 mph (10-20% on 30-50 mph) is common on just about all municipal roads in the US -- not just limited-access high/free/motor-way systems. On those roads, the typical speed limits is 65mph, but the bulk flow of traffic is typically moving 10 mph above limits, with not uncommon outliers to +20. To make things more complex, some roads still have posted limits of 55mph, a set of purposefully low speed limits set during the OPEC crisis.

There is another caveat here as well: population density. There are no pedestrians on the vast (No, really the VAST) majority of US roads. People are typically spread out far enough that walking isn't viable (ever wonder what "car culture" really means?). In actual cities, there tends to be enough volume, lights and pedestrian activity that speed limits may not every be reached. But the flow of traffic would exceed them if it were possible.

leady
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby leady » Thu May 29, 2014 1:14 pm UTC

I can assure you that the average speed in the outside lane on a UK motorway is in the region of 85 - 90 mph - upto 20 over the maximum legal limit.

However my experience of american drivers (admittedly Florida) is that they are far far more selfish on the road - saying that I was laughing in hysterics as my mate expected to be let onto the Interstate by a nice motorist like in the UK.... two trips through the toll booth later... :)

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu May 29, 2014 1:22 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Exceeding speed limits by 5 or 10 mph (10-20% on 30-50 mph) is common on just about all municipal roads in the US -- not just limited-access high/free/motor-way systems. On those roads, the typical speed limits is 65mph, but the bulk flow of traffic is typically moving 10 mph above limits, with not uncommon outliers to +20. To make things more complex, some roads still have posted limits of 55mph, a set of purposefully low speed limits set during the OPEC crisis.


10mph is more or less considered a buffer zone in my area (in highways. Its different around schools / neighborhoods). I was caught speeding at 15+ over for example, but the judge removed the points from my license and officially lowered my speed and fine to +9mph (he removed the points and lowered the fine). I don't think there is any formal law stating the 10mph buffer zone, but I know I've driven past plenty of speed traps at ~9mph over and the cop didn't pull me over.

Automatic speeding traps can't put points on your license, which is really where the majority of the cost goes anyway. All speeding traps are posted online in my area, so its considered public information. (Your fault if you didn't slow down at a well-known automatic speed trap. Besides, they're all at school zones and inner-city locations). On the other hand, its a county-based thing, I can imagine that someone from another county or from a neighboring state wouldn't know about the locations of speed traps. Nonetheless, if you're really "just following traffic", you'll never get caught by these things. ("Traffic" has learned the location of all the speed traps. You'll see the red brake lights light up around every automatic speed-trap). It goes back to the simple fact that law enforcement in the US is primarily done at the local and state level. And these rules of thumb can change if you travel as little as 30 miles in a certain direction. You arrive in a new municipality, with a new group of cops, with a different sitting judge.

-----------

That said, there is something to be said about the magic number of 65mph. Remember, energy grows with the square of your speed. 75mph collisions have to disperse 30% more energy. A Delta-V of 60mph is approximately the 50% chance of death point (Joksch, H.C. Velocity Change and Fatality Risk in a Crash -- A Rule of Thumb.), while a delta-v of 71mph is the 100% chance of death. Of course, delta-v of 71mph does not necessarily map to 71mph cruising speeds. (Drivers tend to brake when they notice something is wrong... slowing down significantly before the moment of impact. Even then, not all 71mph collisions result in a delta-v of 71). But the important fact here is that Joksch's equation estimates the probability of death to be estimated by the 4th power of your delta-v speed.

The higher your cruising speed, the higher your delta-v. Its possible to stop in ~40ft if you're going 20mph (20ft of stopping, 20ft of reacting). At 40mph, you didn't even have time to react... and even if you did, you'd only slow down to 35mph. Quadratic growth is a bitch.

Going back to 60mph vs 70mph, the estimated stopping distance of 60mph is 240feet, while the estimated stopping distance of 70mph is 315 feet (+30%)
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Tyndmyr
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 29, 2014 2:52 pm UTC

moiraemachy wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:Just read this thread for the first time.

You guys are scary.
I would like to thank Ormurinn for being the one sane person here.

Car accidents are a huge fucking problem. And there is a shitload of evidence that going juust a little faster substantially increases the risk and severity of accidents(who knew, right?). And people pretty much always think it's ok to drive juust a little faster. Until you source the shit out of the theory that no (or substantially higher) speed limits would be an improvement, arguing for that is just entitled "but I wanna go faster. I just know I can handle it".


If going just a little faster is always substantially more dangerous, the logical outcome is to put speed limits at essentially zero, and have everyone walk everywhere.

Realistically, that's not going to happen. People are willing to accept some risk in return for convenience. Driving in general is embracing the principle. Sure, there is such a thing as driving too fast for conditions, or too fast for the particular road, but a lot of speed limits are set to 55 solely because that's the generic number, not because of any sort of hard data.

Incidentally, a significant amount of deaths with speeding as a significant factor ALSO have drunk driving as a factor. Yeah, the trashed person driving fast as hell is a danger to everyone. No surprises there. But it's not as if speed limits STOP him from doing that. He blows right by the sign without giving it a second thought. Or a first thought, likely.

Hell, even plenty of entirely sober people give speed limits fairly little regard, at least, here in the US. Driving a modest amount over the speed limit is accepted as normal pretty much everywhere. On some roads, the accepted variance is much, much higher. For instance, on I-95, despite the posted limit near me being 65, routine traffic speeds approach 90 mph pretty frequently when traffic is light. Why? Well, there's no pedestrians anywhere, and it's a road without much in the way of curves or complications, in good condition, with 4+ lanes on both sides and a huge median. Risks are low. People do not drive the same speed on other roads, even when the speed limit is the same. This indicates that speed limits are not currently that huge of a factor in how fast people drive.

Cleverbeans wrote:I think of speeding tickets as a luxury tax.
Nem wrote:I'm not a big fan of strict adherence to the law.
nicklikesfire (emphasis mine) wrote:it undermines the effectiveness of the police in more serious matters.
Tyndmyr wrote:that one person in the fast lane doing 55 out of some sense of moral outrage when everyone is doing 70 is the danger.


Listen. If speed limit fines are used by stupid government as some kind of ninja tax, the concept of speed limits is not to blame. The way of enforcing it is.


I also stated that most people don't necessarily want speed limits abolished entirely(though we do have data that this is reasonably possible in some circumstances without people all suddenly dying). However, the current system is broken. The limits themselves are often arbitrary, set based on criteria other than safety, etc. Enforcement certainly is pretty arbitrary. A cop can let you go with a warning or...not, depending on if you're polite to him, or you're the "wrong" sort of person, or whatever.

I'm not against ANY sign existing anywhere...sometimes it's nice to know that this area's more treacherous than it looks. I just don't feel that our speed limit system has a whole lot to do with that.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Spambot5546 » Thu May 29, 2014 3:05 pm UTC

More to the point, speed limits (and the fines issued therefore) are an example of the issue being discussed, not the issue itself. They may not even be relevant all that much longer, I'm pretty sure children born in the next few years will be the last for whom getting a driver's license is in any way a normal thing. Self driving cars are on the way!

The actual question I was trying to pose was if using fines for things like speed limits is something governments should do, given that it may incentivize the government to over enforce just to increase their revenue.
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leady
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby leady » Thu May 29, 2014 3:27 pm UTC

give it 15 years for full car automation to kick in and all speeding fines become meaningless.

Actually I think if I was an evil statist i'd start surcharging manual cars and ramp all the fines to high heaven to force people over

Tyndmyr
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 29, 2014 4:37 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:More to the point, speed limits (and the fines issued therefore) are an example of the issue being discussed, not the issue itself. They may not even be relevant all that much longer, I'm pretty sure children born in the next few years will be the last for whom getting a driver's license is in any way a normal thing. Self driving cars are on the way!


Google just announced a self-made prototype. They had previously done retrofitted test vehicles, but this is a car without any way for a human to drive it at all. Tech is definitely going to solve this far more efficiently than speed limits ever could.

I don't necessarily want to force the old cars off the road...there is certainly a car show/collector element there, and I think the sheer appeal will do the job anyways once the tech is there. A few luddites will exist, sure, but they'll be statistically unimportant.

The actual question I was trying to pose was if using fines for things like speed limits is something governments should do, given that it may incentivize the government to over enforce just to increase their revenue.


Indeed. My answer is no. Fines that go to a victim are fine...the concept of restitution and repairing one's wrongs is reasonable and acceptable, provided the victim is not the judging party or connected with them. So, things like corporations paying for the damages caused...no problems with that kind of a fine. There is, though, an inherent conflict of interest when an agency is assessing fines that go into it's own coffers.

BattleMoose
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby BattleMoose » Fri May 30, 2014 4:28 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Spambot5546 wrote:More to the point, speed limits (and the fines issued therefore) are an example of the issue being discussed, not the issue itself. They may not even be relevant all that much longer, I'm pretty sure children born in the next few years will be the last for whom getting a driver's license is in any way a normal thing. Self driving cars are on the way!


Google just announced a self-made prototype. They had previously done retrofitted test vehicles, but this is a car without any way for a human to drive it at all. Tech is definitely going to solve this far more efficiently than speed limits ever could.

I don't necessarily want to force the old cars off the road...


I do, they are damn dangerous.

moiraemachy
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby moiraemachy » Fri May 30, 2014 12:43 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If going just a little faster is always substantially more dangerous, the logical outcome is to put speed limits at essentially zero, and have everyone walk everywhere.

Realistically, that's not going to happen. People are willing to accept some risk in return for convenience.

(...)

I'm not against ANY sign existing anywhere...sometimes it's nice to know that this area's more treacherous than it looks. I just don't feel that our speed limit system has a whole lot to do with that.

What I am saying is: having the gut feeling that speed limits are under what they could reasonably be is not enough. There are people who do study traffic, and it is very easy to identify some biases that lead people to under-estimate the risks involved. I found this page by googling "car accident risk speed", it addresses most points you raised : http://ec.europa.eu/transport/wcm/road_ ... t_risk.htm.

Spambot5546 wrote:The actual question I was trying to pose was if using fines for things like speed limits is something governments should do, given that it may incentivize the government to over enforce just to increase their revenue.


I think speeding tickets are a particularly bad example because we, as a culture, go bananas when cars are involved. Basically, the huge externalities of using cars are under-accounted for because cars are awesome. I would argue that speeding tickets are under enforced, if anything.

Forcing people to do community services seems like a better example to me. Which brings me to

Tyndmyr wrote:There is, though, an inherent conflict of interest when an agency is assessing fines that go into it's own coffers.


Thing is, it doesn't happen only in one direction: if applying some punitive measure is too costly, there is also incentive to under-apply it. My point is that the state is supposed to account for these distortions when deciding when and how to punish people, having the common good as goal. I am all for discussing and being aware of these possible sources of bias, but am against prohibiting these types of punishment.

In the case of speeding tickets: maybe ensuring that the money goes to some federal agency removes the evil incentives?

peregrine_crow
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby peregrine_crow » Fri May 30, 2014 1:05 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:I'd never exceed the speed limit on a stretch of road intentionally, except in a real emergency, and I genuinely can't fathom the attitude of someone who would.

Ormurinn wrote:I think speeding on those roads is still problematic, but if anyone had clarified that they only speed in areas with no pedestrians I'd probably have been less freaked out.

I'm hoping there is an element of cultural disconnect at play here; that speeding in the UK isn't a normal, everyday behavior. Because, on the surface, these two statements made by someone in the US would put them entirely out of touch with reality.

Exceeding speed limits by 5 or 10 mph (10-20% on 30-50 mph) is common on just about all municipal roads in the US -- not just limited-access high/free/motor-way systems. On those roads, the typical speed limits is 65mph, but the bulk flow of traffic is typically moving 10 mph above limits, with not uncommon outliers to +20. To make things more complex, some roads still have posted limits of 55mph, a set of purposefully low speed limits set during the OPEC crisis.


Going 5 to 10 km/h (I live in a country that uses sane(ish) units in their traffic laws) over the speed limit is common practice here to, at least outside city limits. But I suspect that is partly because most cars purposefully report their speed to be 5-10 km/h less than what they are actually going. People are aware of this and overcompensate, leading to speeding.

Of course, now even though a lot of people are getting the correct speed reported through their gps, they are still driving at those compensating speeds, which means they are getting even more speeding tickets.
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Nem » Fri May 30, 2014 1:58 pm UTC

moiraemachy wrote:No, not overreacting. Look at this:

Nem wrote:I'm not a big fan of strict adherence to the law.


Listen. If speed limit fines are used by stupid government as some kind of ninja tax, the concept of speed limits is not to blame. The way of enforcing it is.


Preferring a flexible approach is not the same as wanting no laws. Stick average speed cameras in and give them a degree of allowance in how fast someone has to be going over the speed limit before it flashes people - make them highly visible so it's not a random gotcha. Then you've got a speed limit and people aren't staring at their dashes rather than the road in fear that they're going to get nicked by some tin-pot Nazi whose only recourse to reason goes, "It's THE LAW. DUN DUN DUN!"

Or just teach people to drive properly and make the speed limit a rough guide. I wouldn't allow most of the people I see driving on my daily commute to retain a license for any sum of money. They've got no idea how to drive safely.

Do I think the speed limit's harmful? Yes, it allows total Dilberts, with no idea how to drive safely, to stay on the road rather than getting nicked for doing obviously stupid speeds early on - instead they do vaguely average okay speeds but at the wrong distances, or under the wrong conditions. But I'd be happy enough with more sensible enforcement and it being put around that it was just a rule of thumb. Or, heck, even have a speed limit and don't tell people what it is, and then nick them for being stupid about it with the above method.

Do I think it's unfair? Yes. If you're trying to merge with traffic going 10-20 over the speed limit and you're doing the limit, you're the danger. If you want to be safe, sometimes you've got to do over, sometimes you've got to do under.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri May 30, 2014 3:04 pm UTC

moiraemachy wrote:I think speeding tickets are a particularly bad example because we, as a culture, go bananas when cars are involved. Basically, the huge externalities of using cars are under-accounted for because cars are awesome. I would argue that speeding tickets are under enforced, if anything.

Forcing people to do community services seems like a better example to me.

Although community service for something like speeding also disproportionately hurts low-income individuals working hourly jobs.

I could afford to take a couple days off work (or block out time on the weekend) if I was assigned community service. Someone working two jobs at minimum wage would lose one or both if they tried that.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 30, 2014 4:40 pm UTC

Nem wrote:Or just teach people to drive properly and make the speed limit a rough guide. I wouldn't allow most of the people I see driving on my daily commute to retain a license for any sum of money. They've got no idea how to drive safely.


This is also a thing, yes. God, if I could just make people use turn signals, I'd be so freaking happy. Also, merging. Like a zipper. One car, one car. Easy day. Zipping around everyone on the shoulder doesn't make you clever, it makes you a jerk.

I am sometimes amazed at the degree of terrible driving out there. Just yesterday, I couldn't make a right turn, because that person, in the right turn only lane, was turning left. Had his turn signal on, waiting for the light to change so he could dart in front of everyone else to turn left. Note that at this particular point, there are vast amounts of traffic, and while doing this probably saved him a couple of minutes instead of, yknow, using the left turn lane like a normal human, meant making an illegal turn at a stop light across six lanes of traffic.

I'd be thrilled if half the enforcement that went into catching speeders went into actually pulling over dangerous folks.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri May 30, 2014 5:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Nem wrote:Or just teach people to drive properly and make the speed limit a rough guide. I wouldn't allow most of the people I see driving on my daily commute to retain a license for any sum of money. They've got no idea how to drive safely.


This is also a thing, yes. God, if I could just make people use turn signals, I'd be so freaking happy. Also, merging. Like a zipper. One car, one car. Easy day. Zipping around everyone on the shoulder doesn't make you clever, it makes you a jerk.

I am sometimes amazed at the degree of terrible driving out there. Just yesterday, I couldn't make a right turn, because that person, in the right turn only lane, was turning left. Had his turn signal on, waiting for the light to change so he could dart in front of everyone else to turn left. Note that at this particular point, there are vast amounts of traffic, and while doing this probably saved him a couple of minutes instead of, yknow, using the left turn lane like a normal human, meant making an illegal turn at a stop light across six lanes of traffic.

I'd be thrilled if half the enforcement that went into catching speeders went into actually pulling over dangerous folks.

If they MUST have quotas, why can't they have quotas for "dangerous or inconsiderate driving" rather than something so inane and random as speeding?

Oh, because then the cop would actually have to show up and explain why their driving was dangerous.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 30, 2014 6:08 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:If they MUST have quotas, why can't they have quotas for "dangerous or inconsiderate driving" rather than something so inane and random as speeding?

Oh, because then the cop would actually have to show up and explain why their driving was dangerous.


This touches on another aspect of punishment...the plea bargain concept. Throw everything at 'em, and if they give up the whole trial, etc, they get a lesser punishment.

Speeding tickets often contain an element of this. They write a slightly lower ticket so you just pay the damned thing instead of challenging it. Or, as in the case of speed cameras, often no real trial is involved regardless. It's just "you get this ticket in the mail, and challenging it is mostly an impossible exercise in beaucracy, with potentially higher fines and lots of hassle".

This seems antithetical to justice.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri May 30, 2014 6:13 pm UTC

It's wholly antithetical to justice.

They abrogate all the normal protections of the law because it's technically not treated a criminal offense. Of course, miss your court date and you suddenly find out just how much of a criminal offense it was.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Fri May 30, 2014 6:19 pm UTC

It's always the other guy. Everybody else. Everybody overestimates their skills and underestimates everyone else. If you haven't taken a rigorous driving class, and then kept up and practiced, you are an average driver. I distrust everyone on the road. Including me.

@ Tyndmyr
They don't make enough courtrooms or judges or time to give a fair trial to everyone for traffic offenses.
@ stoppedcaring
They don't want most people that bad, but if you could blow it off without fear, then nobody would go. That's the way it works.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 30, 2014 6:21 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:It's always the other guy. Everybody else. Everybody overestimates their skills and underestimates everyone else. If you haven't taken a rigorous driving class, and then kept up and practiced, you are an average driver. I distrust everyone on the road. Including me.


I probably am an average driver. But...at least I use basic things. It's the people way below the curve I worry about...and where I am, the *majority* of people don't use turn signals, know how to merge, etc. So, even average isn't all that hot.

@ Tyndmyr
They don't make enough courtrooms or judges or time to give a fair trial to everyone for traffic offenses.


If it's impossible to enforce, then it's broken from the start.

moiraemachy
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby moiraemachy » Fri May 30, 2014 6:23 pm UTC

Nem wrote:
moiraemachy wrote:No, not overreacting. Look at this:
Nem wrote:I'm not a big fan of strict adherence to the law.
Listen. If speed limit fines are used by stupid government as some kind of ninja tax, the concept of speed limits is not to blame. The way of enforcing it is.
Preferring a flexible approach is not the same as wanting no laws.

The right way to have flexibility is by having flexible laws, not by adding yet another layer of arbitrariness to strict laws. But to be clear: my main gripe is that you are suggesting all the time that the current limits are obviously too low (to the point of saying it's ok to break it if one knows better). And not providing evidence.

stoppedcaring wrote:
moiraemachy wrote:I think speeding tickets are a particularly bad example because we, as a culture, go bananas when cars are involved. Basically, the huge externalities of using cars are under-accounted for because cars are awesome. I would argue that speeding tickets are under enforced, if anything.

Forcing people to do community services seems like a better example to me.
Although community service for something like speeding also disproportionately hurts low-income individuals working hourly jobs.

I could afford to take a couple days off work (or block out time on the weekend) if I was assigned community service. Someone working two jobs at minimum wage would lose one or both if they tried that.

My point was supposed to relate to the OP's main point, not the speeding ticket scenario: if you are by principle against punishment options that produce immediate benefits to society (deterrence and rehabilitation not included), then you are against forced community service.

But regarding your point: flexibility in the assignment should do it. If there are people in your society without any free time to be taken away, your society has bigger fish to fry.

edit:
morriswalters wrote:It's always the other guy. Everybody else. Everybody overestimates their skills and underestimates everyone else. If you haven't taken a rigorous driving class, and then kept up and practiced, you are an average driver. I distrust everyone on the road. Including me.

I prefer another route to argue about this:
-Assume people always drive at the highest safe speed
-Assume the highest safe speed for a certain driver is a function of their skill
Therefore, if you are an above average driver, a reasonable speed limit should feel slow.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri May 30, 2014 6:49 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:It's always the other guy. Everybody else. Everybody overestimates their skills and underestimates everyone else. If you haven't taken a rigorous driving class, and then kept up and practiced, you are an average driver. I distrust everyone on the road. Including me.

What's the statistic -- 84% of drivers surveyed felt they were above-average?

I believe that my technical ability behind the wheel is quite high -- demonstrably and consistently higher than most people I ride with; I can exercise impeccable control, maneuver with ease, and squeeze every drop of horsepower out of my engine in a pinch -- and yet also recognize that my day-to-day execution is not without its flaws. :? How well I drive depends on a variety of factors. If I am stressed, tired, or upset, I forget to do the things I'm expecting everyone else to do. Lately, I've been so exhausted that I change lanes without remembering to signal, cut through traffic on impulse, and so forth. I only realize after the fact that I'm doing something stupid and careless.

I think people estimate their ability based on their best-performance metrics but estimate everyone else's ability based on a heavily-selection-bias-weighted median.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Fri May 30, 2014 7:34 pm UTC

moiraemachy wrote:I prefer another route to argue about this:
-Assume people always drive at the highest safe speed
-Assume the highest safe speed for a certain driver is a function of their skill
Therefore, if you are an above average driver, a reasonable speed limit should feel slow.
This is what people do assume. I on the other hand assume that no one truly know anything about their car and how it handles under all conditions or their ability to do with it what is possible with it if the knew, and that there is a kid behind every spot I can't see, a car just out of sight in the intersection ahead doing 100mph with a drunk at the wheel. And various and sundry other things. However this may not be to the point and if so, my apologies.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri May 30, 2014 7:44 pm UTC

moiraemachy wrote:I prefer another route to argue about this:
-Assume people always drive at the highest safe speed
-Assume the highest safe speed for a certain driver is a function of their skill
Therefore, if you are an above average driver, a reasonable speed limit should feel slow.

One modification:

"Therefore, if you believe yourself to be an above-average driver, a reasonable speed limit should feel slow."

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Nem » Fri May 30, 2014 8:24 pm UTC

moiraemachy wrote:The right way to have flexibility is by having flexible laws, not by adding yet another layer of arbitrariness to strict laws. But to be clear: my main gripe is that you are suggesting all the time that the current limits are obviously too low (to the point of saying it's ok to break it if one knows better). And not providing evidence.


I haven't said the current limits are obviously too low. Nor have I said they're too high. I've said sometimes you need to go slower than the limit to drive safely and sometimes you need to go faster. It depends what's going on. I've been claiming that the current limits are at best approximations of what's reasonable, and cannot take into account a range of variables that influence what the actual safe speed for a particular section of road under particular conditions is.

morriswalters wrote:It's always the other guy. Everybody else. Everybody overestimates their skills and underestimates everyone else. If you haven't taken a rigorous driving class, and then kept up and practiced, you are an average driver. I distrust everyone on the road. Including me.


It doesn't matter whether I'm better than they are. There are a certain set of things that I require before I consider that someone should be on the road: reasonable separation distances for a given speed, appropriate use of signals, awareness of sight lines - and so on. I know some of those things aren't taught in the driving test, and I'm more than happy if people who can't perform to that level are banned from the road.

If that turns out to include me, then I still want those criteria. I don't believe that it would, but if I can't perform to those sorts of levels, then I shouldn't be on the road. And nor should anyone else who can't. Please, do it - save me from myself; I don't want to kill someone. Take my license, crush my car, make me pass a more rigorous test.

Ban people from the road if consistently they fail to perform. Require someone to show both their license and counterpart with the endorsements on it if they want to buy a car. Make it like buying a gun in America. If they acquire a car anyway and it gets flagged by an ANPR camera as being unregistered to them, turn up at their home with a mobile crushing device and crush it in front of them if they can't prove they acquired it legally - then charge them for crushing it.

I've no patience for these people, and am quite happy to take the risk that it will hang me. When you think that something's just, you shouldn't care where in the distribution you fall.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 30, 2014 9:56 pm UTC

Well, skill isn't a static thing, either. If it turns out that I'm not good enough, well...I can get better. That's what learning is for.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri May 30, 2014 9:56 pm UTC

Draconian provisions aside, what's a reasonable consistency rate?

If someone does all of the things you demand 50% of the time they're on the road, is that enough?

No?

How about 60%?

80%?

I guarantee there's no driver alive who does all of those things all the time.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 30, 2014 10:02 pm UTC

We have a driver's test to get a license, do we not? If, perhaps, every ten years, some sort of re-qualification was necessary, that probably wouldn't be unduly onerous.

Obviously, there'd need to be restrictions to prevent government from turning this into a massive profit center by making people fail, though.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby freezeblade » Fri May 30, 2014 10:47 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:We have a driver's test to get a license, do we not? If, perhaps, every ten years, some sort of re-qualification was necessary, that probably wouldn't be unduly onerous.


I don't know about other states, but in California if you get enough tickets or points on your license, when it's up for renewel, some are required to re-take their written test, or even the behind-the-wheel portion.
Belial wrote:I am not even in the same country code as "the mood for this shit."

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri May 30, 2014 11:43 pm UTC

freezeblade wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:We have a driver's test to get a license, do we not? If, perhaps, every ten years, some sort of re-qualification was necessary, that probably wouldn't be unduly onerous.


I don't know about other states, but in California if you get enough tickets or points on your license, when it's up for renewel, some are required to re-take their written test, or even the behind-the-wheel portion.


That seems roughly workable. I don't know the specific system, so there may be details that would be better optimized, but at a basic level, it seems reasonable.

Some states have finally embraced testing for the very elderly, as declining mental condition sometimes poses driving problems, but I prefer a generic system that applies to everyone rather than simply a specific subset on general principles.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Sat May 31, 2014 1:03 am UTC

You seem to want to fix the unfixable. Where is the fire? People don't like cops giving tickets, speed cameras giving tickets, what is that people want? Zero enforcement? Make everybody a professional driver? Not gonna happen. I'm okay with retesting once a year. How do we pay for it? Figure one man day a year shot in the head. Same thing for every ten years. How do we pay for it? Look at the stats. The higher the speed the more likely to die. The younger the more likely to speed, older folks may have many issues and may need to not drive, but younger people seem to speed and die more and that fact is reflected in insurance premiums.
Nem wrote:It doesn't matter whether I'm better than they are. There are a certain set of things that I require before I consider that someone should be on the road: reasonable separation distances for a given speed, appropriate use of signals, awareness of sight lines - and so on. I know some of those things aren't taught in the driving test, and I'm more than happy if people who can't perform to that level are banned from the road.
People won't do this. It is taught. The written test in my state touches all these and more. And signage exists to warn people of hidden dangers. So many people speed in construction zones that already high fines are doubled, and they still won't stop. They put up big bright signs and flashing lights.......? As an added attraction, in the US the car has allowed development to proceed in a manner that makes taking half the fools off the road impossible.

Fix the car, cause you can't fix the fools. Almost certainly I'm beyond help. :D

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Azrael » Sat May 31, 2014 2:04 am UTC

peregrine_crow wrote:But I suspect that is partly because most cars purposefully report their speed to be 5-10 km/h less than what they are actually going. People are aware of this and overcompensate, leading to speeding.

Citation needed.

... or I'll save you the trouble on the first half. European regulations require that the speedometer never read low, so the natural tolerance band inherent in any system is purposefully skewed high. In the US, the regulations do not necessarily lead to that skew.

But I've never heard someone in the US use that possibility to rationalize speeding.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Sat May 31, 2014 4:19 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:You seem to want to fix the unfixable. Where is the fire? People don't like cops giving tickets, speed cameras giving tickets, what is that people want? Zero enforcement? Make everybody a professional driver? Not gonna happen. I'm okay with retesting once a year. How do we pay for it? Figure one man day a year shot in the head. Same thing for every ten years. How do we pay for it? Look at the stats. The higher the speed the more likely to die.


And speed limits do not inherently mean lower speeds, because people break them. Therefore, an argument for lower speed is NOT inherently an argument for speed limits.

As for "where is the fire", well...a giant pile of cops are always busy doing traffic work to enforce speeding tickets. A giant bureaucracy has sprung up that is...a fairly inefficient revenue collection device(the IRS, for all the unpopularity it's job enjoys, is quite efficient at it). It's not justice. In fact, it requires a reduction of justice merely to operate at it's current level of efficiency, as any significant amount of court challenges would eat heavily into it's profits. It doesn't harvest these profits in any particularly fair, equitable, or logical means. With all the costs, why SHOULD the current system exist like this?

As for making people better drivers, why not? One man day a year wasted(which seems excessive, a test should not require an entire workday, and it need not be every year) hurts...but a person who dies in a car accident loses every day for the rest of their lives. So, yknow, there's that. Plus, the monetary loss due to car accidents.

We are currently at about 1.1 deaths/10,000 people per year in the US. Accident rates are much higher, but even accounting for just death, if we assume an average years lost of 30 years(probably more, because accidents skew young), then we are currently burning slightly MORE time than the day/year/driver in expected time lost due to deaths.

I note that time lost due to speeding tickets has got to be a non-zero number as well. A bit over 20% get a ticket, at an average cost of $152 per. That's a great deal more than many people make daily...and some additional time is spent in receiving and paying the ticket. If it is challenged, like about 5% of them are, that's most of the day down the drain.

When people drive the same speed regardless, no safety gain exists. When people drive slower, well...time spent increases. You need to demonstrate a significant degree of increased safety from speed limits to justify this cost. In the US especially...I'm not sure that's at all a reasonable assumption.

Stats: http://www.statisticbrain.com/driving-citation-statistics/

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Nem » Sat May 31, 2014 10:54 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:People won't do this. It is taught. The written test in my state touches all these and more.


Then, it's not taught. A written test is not a substitute for teaching what is a physical and observational skill. And the longer the written test is, the worse that is. It would be like claiming you'd taught someone karate because they'd read a book on the subject, and it had mention on page fifty - in passing - what the ideal mutual distance between two fighters was. Or claiming that because someone'd read a book on small unit tactics they'd be able to execute fire and manoeuvre tactics appropriately on the ground.

This is stuff that needs to be drilled in - just like smooth gear changing, just like fighting, just like team work, just like any of a myriad other skills where reading what the numbers are doesn't translate those numbers into a feeling of what's safe and what's not. You cannot gain a skill just by being told something.

Where you look and when - the observations you take - that's a habit. So's how far you drive from the car in front. So's how often you check your mirrors. So's when you start braking and how fast you think it appropriate to come up to obstructions and how close you consider it appropriate to drive to other cars. Knowledge forms the basis for the formation of those habits, but without the experience of using them it's all largely pointless.

IMO, the theory test is the worst thing to happen to driving in the last fifty years. It's taken knowledge that ought to be being trained into a skill and made it something that people read and either have no idea what it turns into on the ground or then forget.

Your test should be a commentary drive, so that the examiner knows what decisions you're making and why, and can assess that in light of the theory that you should know - and the theory section can then be scrapped.

morriswalters wrote:And signage exists to warn people of hidden dangers. So many people speed in construction zones that already high fines are doubled, and they still won't stop. They put up big bright signs and flashing lights.......? As an added attraction, in the US the car has allowed development to proceed in a manner that makes taking half the fools off the road impossible.


I really don't expect people to take signs seriously when they're not feeling the dangers they're being warned about. Do people feel that road works mean that someone could just step out on them? Do they feel that they'd be able to stop in time?

I think people vastly overestimate how much knowledge influences operational concerns as compared to having something drilled into you properly.

morriswalters wrote:Fix the car, cause you can't fix the fools. Almost certainly I'm beyond help. :D


I'm amenable to just having computers do it all for us ^_^ That'd be ideal.

stoppedcaring wrote:Draconian provisions aside, what's a reasonable consistency rate?

If someone does all of the things you demand 50% of the time they're on the road, is that enough?

No?

How about 60%?

80%?

I guarantee there's no driver alive who does all of those things all the time.


No, everyone makes mistakes. I don't know how consistently the thing would have to be applied. And there's an additional question of how seriously you'd have to violate it. Someone who's doing 100mph through a built up area probably needs their license taken away then and there - I can't think of any conditions under which that would be responsible behaviour.

Things like turn signals though - everyone forgets them once in a while.

-shrug-

I think I make a mistake like maybe driving a bit close to someone before I remember and correct it about once every three months - if we were going off of that basis ... well, I drive twice a day. Say each month is 25 days for easy use - 1/75 ... something like a 1.3% screw-up rate.

But then again I may not be a good driver. Or I might be misremembering. Or I might be an excellent driver and expecting unreasonable performance off of others. I think something like 80||90% wouldn't be unreasonable to ask of people though. Roughly 6 to 2 screwups a month that were serious enough for other people to notice - assuming they drove twice a day and depending on how long the month was and so on.

(And there's the further question of what sort of consistency is reasonable to expect of people and how much time you're going to give people for improvement and so on.)

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby paulisa » Sat May 31, 2014 6:11 pm UTC

The stuff about scrapping offenders cars is rather silly, and I suspect that's why no one else has mentioned it.

Spoiler:
Ownership and possession are two different things. I don't have a drivers licence, but there's nothing stopping me from owning 50 cars if I have the space for them. I'm only forbidden from driving a car on public roads, so I can drive in circles on a racetrack all day if the owner allows me. I can employ a driver, and it would be strange to have the driver own the car.

If someone in possession of my vehicle commits an offense, the fine is firstly my responsibility. I must pay the fine or challenge it. Then I can get the person behind the wheel to pay me back. If it was an employed driver, there would probably be contractual arrangements. It would be very unfair if my property is destroyed for something someone else did (in contrast to a fine, I can probably not demand a new car from the person who actually commited the offense).

To the question of punishment benefiting society, I don't believe that it's a good idea most of the time. On one side, it "entitles" the offender, so for instance a speeder would say "it's ok for me to speed, if I get caught I help pay for schools in my area." On the other side, it can be an irregular source of income for the area, for instance if copas have a quota and decide to fulfil it only in the last 5 days of the month. Or they decide to enforce it in places or times that are not as useful as others, such as on an open stretch of road in the sun instead of in front of a school or in rain/hail/sleet.
The smallest unit of time in the multiverse is the New-York-Second, defined as the period of time passing between the traffic light turning green and the cab behind you honking. - Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Nem » Sat May 31, 2014 6:19 pm UTC

paulisa wrote:The stuff about scrapping offenders cars is rather silly, and I suspect that's why no one else has mentioned it.

Spoiler:
Ownership and possession are two different things. I don't have a drivers licence, but there's nothing stopping me from owning 50 cars if I have the space for them. I'm only forbidden from driving a car on public roads, so I can drive in circles on a racetrack all day if the owner allows me. I can employ a driver, and it would be strange to have the driver own the car.

If someone in possession of my vehicle commits an offense, the fine is firstly my responsibility. I must pay the fine or challenge it. Then I can get the person behind the wheel to pay me back. If it was an employed driver, there would probably be contractual arrangements. It would be very unfair if my property is destroyed for something someone else did (in contrast to a fine, I can probably not demand a new car from the person who actually commited the offense).


That's an implementation detail - don't crush cars that don't belong to the person who screwed up unless there's something going on such that the person knowing about it could reasonably suspect that the person wasn't meant to be driving (e.g. professional driver, not asked for their license.) We can and have crushed cars that are driven without insurance:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/new ... kdown.html

I don't see that no license is dramatically different from no insurance.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Sat May 31, 2014 8:50 pm UTC

I agree in principle that people should be better trained on how to drive a car. But to be useful the skill would have to be constantly practiced, and I don't mean driving to work. But the reality is that it isn't going to happen. Because most of the skills that are needed aren't skills that you use everyday. And tailgating, is about personality and the type of person you are, not about your knowledge of the safest distance between cars
Nem wrote:I really don't expect people to take signs seriously when they're not feeling the dangers they're being warned about. Do people feel that road works mean that someone could just step out on them? Do they feel that they'd be able to stop in time?
. A really enlightened attitude, and that is not sarcastic. And that is the problem in a nutshell. Driving a car is so easy that people don't have the healthy fear of their car that would reduce the amount of idiocy. Let me change the steering geometry of the two front wheels and they would find out relatively quickly that the car does most of the heavy lifting. But I think overall we agree.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby peregrine_crow » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:10 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
peregrine_crow wrote:But I suspect that is partly because most cars purposefully report their speed to be 5-10 km/h less than what they are actually going. People are aware of this and overcompensate, leading to speeding.

Citation needed.

... or I'll save you the trouble on the first half. European regulations require that the speedometer never read low, so the natural tolerance band inherent in any system is purposefully skewed high. In the US, the regulations do not necessarily lead to that skew.

But I've never heard someone in the US use that possibility to rationalize speeding.


Ah, my bad, I meant that the speedometer reports speeds 5-10 km/h more than what they are actually going. The process I referred to goes as follows:

- Car goes 110, speedometer reads 120, driver wonders why everyone is passing him when he is driving at the speed limit.
- Driver finds out that speedometers are purposefully calibrated to read higher speeds.
- Car now goes 130 to compensate, speedometer reads 140, but driver feels safe because speedometers are always reading high values.
- Driver gets GPS which reports accurate information, but is now used to driving 140 on 120 roads.
- Car now goes 140.
Ignorance killed the cat, curiosity was framed.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:43 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
peregrine_crow wrote:But I suspect that is partly because most cars purposefully report their speed to be 5-10 km/h less than what they are actually going. People are aware of this and overcompensate, leading to speeding.

Citation needed.

... or I'll save you the trouble on the first half. European regulations require that the speedometer never read low, so the natural tolerance band inherent in any system is purposefully skewed high. In the US, the regulations do not necessarily lead to that skew.

But I've never heard someone in the US use that possibility to rationalize speeding.

I have tested all the speedometers on my cars using cruise control and mile markers on a flat straightaway and adjusted my speed accordingly.

Nem wrote:
stoppedcaring wrote:Draconian provisions aside, what's a reasonable consistency rate?

If someone does all of the things you demand 50% of the time they're on the road, is that enough?

No?

How about 60%?

80%?

I guarantee there's no driver alive who does all of those things all the time.


No, everyone makes mistakes. I don't know how consistently the thing would have to be applied. And there's an additional question of how seriously you'd have to violate it. Someone who's doing 100mph through a built up area probably needs their license taken away then and there - I can't think of any conditions under which that would be responsible behaviour.

Things like turn signals though - everyone forgets them once in a while.

-shrug-

I think I make a mistake like maybe driving a bit close to someone before I remember and correct it about once every three months - if we were going off of that basis ... well, I drive twice a day. Say each month is 25 days for easy use - 1/75 ... something like a 1.3% screw-up rate.

But then again I may not be a good driver. Or I might be misremembering. Or I might be an excellent driver and expecting unreasonable performance off of others. I think something like 80||90% wouldn't be unreasonable to ask of people though. Roughly 6 to 2 screwups a month that were serious enough for other people to notice - assuming they drove twice a day and depending on how long the month was and so on.

(And there's the further question of what sort of consistency is reasonable to expect of people and how much time you're going to give people for improvement and so on.)

Not to be overly skeptical, but 1.3%? That's...not realistic.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:45 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:Not to be overly skeptical, but 1.3%? That's...not realistic.


It's pretty reasonable. People can be *very* predictable when something is ingrained to the level of habit. You grow up using your turn signals constantly, and you'll keep on doing it unless something disrupts your pattern.

Turn signal use is maaybe 50% where I live. That's not the occasional error, that's people not giving a crap.


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