In general, we have trouble with things like speed cameras
and red light cameras
-- both of which don't tend to do much of anything to make the roads safer (rather, there's evidence that they lead to more accidents
). The reality is that they are really about boosting revenue for local governments, not about safety -- which explains why plenty of places have been found illegally
changing parameters to make them bring in more revenue.
But the biggest problem of all is just that these cameras aren't reliable at all, and without any human witness it seems unfair to charge someone with a crime -- especially when they do things like charge a stationary brick wall
with going 58mph or accuse a woman of driving a car at a stunning 480 mph
. And, of course, when you have an automated system sending out violation notices, you just know
it's going to get gamed. That's exactly what appears to be happening. Slashdot
points out a story of students in Maryland making fake license plates matching other students' plates, slapping them on their cars and speeding by speed cameras
in order to get other students slapped with fines. And, of course, others have seen similar attempts for more nefarious reasons
. At what point did we decide it was okay for automated systems to issue fines without any human review?