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. rishi says:

    lol at no 2.

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  2. Aaron in LA says:

    Of course, the government HAS no money other than that which it takes by threat of fine or imprisonment.

    Let’s seize the college funds from the children of legislators who seek to redistribute property. Compel government employees to eat their own dog food by assessing a 20% luxury tax for sending their kids to private schools instead of the public schools and for using private health care instead of public clinics.

    Harry’s “1984” comment is right on target.

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  3. Alex says:

    It’s a brilliant idea, assuming that only those people AT the speed limit and not under enter the lottery. In most cases, not everywhere of course, traffic signs and speed limits are there for a reason.
    And I completely agree with Jason although I think he is referring to regional/inner city public transport.
    I am German and I believe that there would be a lot more people in trains and not blocking the Autobahn if train tickets weren’t that ridiculously expensive (1-way from my university town to my hometown, approximately 300km, is 62$). So a lottery win might encourage me to take the train more often. Although the now very popular alternative, carpooling organized over the internet, also helps traffic flow and the environment.

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  4. fred smith says:

    This is the dumbest idea i have ever heard of . This is about law enforcement. You don’t get a ticket by obeying the law period.

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  5. Jon R. says:

    Interesting! I love the cameras. I love that they are catching people who think they are getting away with driving any way they want. If a program like this will further help people slow down and follow the law, let’s give it a shot.

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  6. Mike B says:

    It’s already trivial to no speed at speed cameras. All they are effective in doing is keeping me from not speeding in the 200 or so feet in the range of the camera. In fact there has been an unintended consequence in that now I have to often increase speed higher than I would have previously to make up the time lost to the speed camera zone.

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  7. anna taylor says:

    Crazy idea, never heard of such a thing. Just teaching people to slow down at the camera area and that’s it.

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  8. Magnus says:

    Have we really come to the point where we’ll lower ourselves to paying people not to endanger the lives of their fellow drivers? Cameras are very effective at deterring reckless driving by providing far better enforcement of our traffic laws than cops can do, so let’s let them do it and not debase ourselves by pandering to people for doing what they should be doing in the first place!

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