Paying Drivers to Not Speed

A number of Freakonomics readers have alerted us to yet another novel lottery idea. As Wired reports, Kevin Richardson won Volkswagen’s Fun Theory contest for his idea: “Kevin’s idea is both smart and simple. As well as ticketing you when you run through a speed-radar too fast, Kevin’s ‘Speed Camera Lottery‘ also notices you when you come in at or under the speed-limit. It then automatically enters you in a lottery. And here’s the really smart part: the prizes come from the fines paid by speeders.” The camera is currently in use in Stockholm, where the “average speed of cars passing the camera dropped from 32km/h before the experiment to 25km/h after.” [%comments]

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  1. 164 says:

    Well that’s alright for Sweden where they are used to big government.

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  2. Ian Kemmish says:

    Wouldn’t you just get gambling addicts speeding round the city trying to drive slowly past as many speed cameras as possible?

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  3. Eric M. Jones says:

    One of the err….hilarious….collections of speed camera mayhem committed by British drivers can be found at:

    Apparently the common method of destruction is to necklace the thing with an old tyre and drop a road flare into it, although in the US our second amendment rights would come into play.

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  4. Scott from Henderson says:

    People who refuse to keep up with traffic (i.e. who insist on driving 35 mph in a 45 mph zone) are every bit as dangerous as speeders. We don’t need to provide an economic incentive to further impede travel on our roadways.

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  5. Jason says:

    What about entering everyone who takes mass transit into a lottery funded by the tolls paid by those who insist on driving?

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  6. Cackalacka says:

    What Scott from Henderson said.

    This morning on the interstate, I nearly died several times, by virtue of being stuck behind a phallanx of Mercedes Benz M minivans, whose drivers thought it was appropriate to run in the right and passing lanes 5 under, while being in front of scores of motorists who were actually trying to get somewhere.

    This idea would work in countries who understand the necessity of the passing lane, not the 5,000 lb steel cocoon of insularity.

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  7. Harry says:

    “Smith!” screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. “6079 Smith W! Yes, you! You’re actually touching your toes! It’s a shame the rest of you can’t see him. He’s a credit to society. For doing the group exercises correctly, 6079 Smith W will automatically be entered in the lottery for toothpaste and shoelaces.”

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  8. The next great thing says:

    This reminds me of an old Ozzie and Harriet story where Ozzie gets told he is to be recognized as a model driver and then proceeds to get a ticket and in a fight with the issuing officer before the ceremony recognizing him.

    I guess my point in bringing that up is that since we have had city highways and roads people have flaunted safety and the rules of the road and cities have been trying to stop them. I see nothing wrong with cities looking for inventive ways to get people to obey the rules. In particular if it comes out of the offending parties pockets and not out of the city coffers. I also see nothing wrong with using the latest in technology to remind people that we all share the road and one persons behavior can have a significant impact on the rest of us.

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