2010
10.09

So it’s been a while since I wrote something original here. But never fear, I’ve been stockpiling ideas, ready to expound on them at a moment’s notice.

Today’s idea has been marinating in my melon for a dozen years or so, but was re-inspired by a post I read on the NY Times Freakonomics blog in late August.

According to Freakonomics, a web-based company called ticketfree.org was briefly advertising a service that would pay up to $500 in moving violations for an annual cost of $169. Of course, ticketfree.org, like other insurance companies, was set up so that they made a profit if their customers didn’t get tickets, or at least received violations of less than $169 per year. And speaking from experience, that’s either two tickets for “failure to observe a traffic control device” (stop sign, red light, etc) or a speeding ticket of 8 to 12 mph over the speed limit, at least here in Florida.

Possibly due to legal quandries or moral ramifications ticketfree.org shut down shortly after opening.

So much for that idea.

However, ever since I got my second ticket, I’ve had an idea similar in benefit to ticketfree.org, but vastly different in process. Instead of trying to out-finagle the system, my plan actually works within its boundaries. And my plan is financially lucrative for both parties, something ticketfree.org lacked.

I’d like to see pre-paid ticket plans.

Kinda like pre-paid cards at Target or Wal-Mart.

Here’s how it would work:

From December 1st to December 31st, drivers can set up an account with the Clerk of Court of their choice. From there, they can fill the account with up to $1,000. This $1,000 is then applicable to any non-accident violation. That money is good for one year. By December 31st of the following year, drivers have the option to renew or get their money back.

This plan would benefit both the government and the driver.

The county/state/government element receives a lump of money up front in the beginning of every year. They can then invest that money for a calendar year, hopefully earning interest for the benefit of the proceeding year’s budget.

Drivers benefit by receiving a debit-like card they can carry on their person and if pulled over, can immediately use to pay off the violation.

Unlike ticketfree.org, my plan does not try to reduce the amount of a penalty, it only makes the transaction easier to pay. Which, of course, saves time, postage, and stress.

Although the financial penalties remain the same within $1000, I would also add a stipulation to avoid abuse of the system. If a cardholder incurs any costs beyond $1000, their fee to the state/county/”The Man” is doubled.

What do you guys think? Could it work?

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  1. Interesting idea – I don’t know how many people assume they’re going to get tickets, though. I’m a terrible driver and haven’t had a ticket in like 3 years. I can’t imagine taking a grand out of my pocket in the immediate for something like this.

    Also, Google’s self-driving cars will be taking over in +/-8 years! :)

  2. You are better than I. I usually average 2 tickets a year for at least 150 each. Maybe I am the minority.
    BTW, those google cars scare me.

  3. They’r crazy to think about – just think of how much would change. Your car would drop you off, go find a spot on its own, and then you’d call it to come get you. No more valets, no more searching for parking, no more forgetting where you parked.

  4. There is a world of possibilities. The google think tank has to be the home of some of the brightest engineering minds in the world. Anyway, I’m cooking up another transportation post, so be on the look out. I’m definitely going to talk about the google cars.