So today, I was driving around town, and happened to pass through one particular intersection that is extremely technologically advanced. Believe me, the equipment is state of the art. These are no ordinary traffic lights.
Well, actually, the traffic lights are ordinary, but what makes them extraordinary is the camera system that was set up recently. These cameras take pictures of cars that run red lights. They are intense. For quite some time after they were installed, I never knew if they were actually working or not, as they never exhibited any sign that they were. Of course, that might be due to my morning stupor or my evening exhaustion, depending on when I drive through said intersection, and what I have on my mind. If I'm lost in thought, or absorbed in my music and am head-banging and singing, I suppose it's only natural that I be oblivious to the cameras.
But I like to think that they were just not in use, or that I never saw it. But this week, I've seen them work on several occasions, mostly two to three pictures at a time. And I know what this means: there are lots and lots of naughty drivers on the road. Still, I could not help but wonder what caused me to notice that these cameras really do work, and I think it is actually that it's dark out when I drive home now, thanks to daylight savings time. It's easy to see a flash when it's nice and dark. Lightning jumped to mind the first time, but my quick mind realized that it wasn't even cloudy, so that wasn't probable. That was about the only guess that jumped to mind, but on the second flash, I was looking in the direction of the camera.
One thought that popped into my head today, as I watched the camera flash, was the following: I wonder if these camera things will cause someone to have a seizure? I'd heard that seizures are sometimes caused by strobe lights, so I figured a flash from a camera might have a similar effect. But after a simple google search, I learned that this is not overly common, and can be treated with medication. Bummer. I thought I'd found a loop hole to get rid of the cameras.
Another thought that crossed my mind was what exactly it would be like to get a ticket in the mail with a picture of your car running a red light. The law states that the car owner receives the ticket and must pay it, whether or not that person was actually driving at the time. I imagine that there will be much less time devoted to traffic violations in court with this new system. It's pretty hard to defend yourself when you don't receive the ticket for the violation until days, or a week, or x amount of time, after committing the crime. I can picture it now:
Judge: Is it true that you committed this heinous violation, with full knowledge of your actions, on the night of October the 23rd?
Me: Well, sir, you have to understand, I actually don't remember what I was doing that night. I mean, was that a Tuesday, or Friday, or what?
Judge: That was a Wednesday.
Me: Oh. Can't have been me. I'm never on that side of town on Wednesday nights.
Judge: So you're telling me that someone else drives a blue Nissan Sentra with license plate 524RGT, and shares your name?
Me: Whoah. That's just like my car. Weird. Like an evil twin or something!
Judge: I have not the time to deal with your absurdity. I hereby sentence you to pay this fine within the next 48 hours. Also, you must remember to never do this again, or you will pay double.
Me: Whatever you say. It'll be really easy not to repeat what I don't remember doing. But sure, to save me time from asking silly questions and coming across as even more of an idiot than I do already, I'll go along with that.
Judge: Good. Court adjourned.
Well, maybe it wouldn't play out exactly like this. But still, I thik that if we stuck to the good old-fashioned way, people could know immediately what they did wrong (or right, depending on the situation; I mean, if you have a tailgaiter about to kill you in their giant SUV, and it's only yellow barely on to red, I might consider running the light in order not to die). Seems to me that technology isn't meant for everything, and this is one such thing.
After all, we're only human.