Friday, 14 April 2006

Playing with traffic

The game that is UK traffic law is broken. It's broken because the rules don't always matter. Take the emotive issue of speeding. Speeding is illegal. Yet, unlike theft, say, it is not more-or-less universally disapproved of. Many ordinary people who think of themselves as law-abiding speed. Some of them, the militant Jeremy Clarkson tendency, even dispute whether it is a crime and, in deference to their sensibilities, the government appears equivocal about installing more speed cameras, instructing the police to prosecute speeders, and so on. And in turn this brings the law into disrepute.

This situation is unhelpful for everyone. If there is a law, it should be enforced. If the law is viewed as out-of-date, or not always appropriate, then it should be changed. But we cannot have mostly kinda almost enforced laws. That just encourages drivers to view the entirety of traffic law as somehow optional - have you noticed how much more often drivers cross traffic lights on red these days? Once the rules of the game do not always constrain you, things go bad rather quickly.


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