So if you've been driving around Providence ever since school started, you've likely noticed that Big Brother is definitely increasingly watching. There are more and more signs everywhere near mounted school zone police speeding cameras that, following a "warning period" going into late October in some parts of the city, these speeding cameras will be enforcing the law, busting guilty drivers of speeding infractions. I have a HUGE problem with this. HUGE. And it is quite simply this:
I am much more likely to get a speeding ticket - or 30 speeding tickets - every month now.
We all are.
You see, a police officer pulling you over in a speed trap - even if his car was tucked behind some bushes at the end of a driveway, hidden - still somewhat feels like a fair fight. You aren't being watched every inch of the road by a camera just praying for you to screw up and accelerate a little too fast for a few moments. And you have time after spotting the nose of a police car sticking out of a hiding spot or getting the headlight warning signal of "speed trap ahead" from another driver to slam on the brakes and immediately go from potential lawbreaker to law-abiding citizen just as you pass the cop. And should you get pulled over, you might be lucky enough to get an officer in a forgiving mood after hearing your bullsh*t story as to why you were speeding and maybe he or she will let you off with a warning.
Not so with speed cameras. They are unforgiving. They have no compassion. Their word is law. They don't care about you or why you were speeding. They record you in the act. Irrefutable evidence. Hopefully the officer reviewing the footage who decides whether or not to issue a ticket has some compassion.
But it's been seeming like they don't. At the beginning of the year, these cameras generated more revenue in traffic violations in two months than was projected all year.
And here's the even crappier part. Unlike a normal driving experience when you pull into your driveway at the end of the day and congratulate yourself for a day of incident-free driving - no accidents, no traffic infractions, no tickets - with the speed cameras, it's "ignorance is bliss." You have no idea as you're enjoying the next few days that a ticket is being printed out with your name on it. And it's going to ruin your day in the very near future. Especially if you find yourself getting several of them over the course of time because you simply can't escape the prying eyes of these cameras and you simply can't drive as slow as your grandmother.
I believe the "assumed" speed limit is supposed to be 25 (or 20 in school zones) in residential and business areas unless otherwise posted, but if they're going to be installing tons of these spying cameras they need to delineate more frequently or prominently what the speed limit is on every road, every few feet or so. How many times are you driving on a road where you know what the EXACT speed limit is?
The good news is, we can fight back! Take it to the man! Take back our city! And there's one simple way we can do it...
We can all drive really, really slowly everywhere we go. Maybe flip off a speed camera or two.
Hopefully, I've just started a state-wide rebellion.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to begin driving home. At 25 mph, I should be there in about 4 hours.