Incentives Matter

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A New Orleans police officer has been arrested for writing more than 200 phantom seat belt citations. Why would he do that?

Glenn Gross, who works in the NOPD’s information technology department, was writing bogus tickets for seat-belt violations, allowing him to collect extra pay, Superintendent Ronal Serpas said.

The department received a federal grant in June that pays for overtime for officers who enforce seat-belt laws. Rather than doing the work and writing up motorists who had violated the law, Gross, 44, wrote tickets to phantom motorists, officials said.

Officials said the investigation is continuing and that other officers, and possibly a supervisor, are also under scrutiny. Serpas said he couldn’t say how much overtime Gross collected as a result of the scam.

You know, libertarians are often mocked when we decry mandatory seat belt laws, or when we get all hot and bothered about federal meddling in trifles like this.

Even if you don’t much care about personal freedom, here’s why this stuff matters: Put aside this particular cop and his made-up violations. Put aside the others who may also be implicated in the investigation. Put aside also the (legitimate) concerns about how such incentives might encourage bad cops to fine actual motorists who are wearing seat belts, or about how primary seat belts laws give police another reason to make pretext stops that can then lead to dubious searches and harassment.

Even assuming that everybody’s motives are on the up and up, here, you still have a city with a murder rate that’s ten times the national average. And here you have a federal program that hands out bonus checks not to cops who spend their time walking beats in dangerous neighborhoods, who patrol high-crime areas, or who put in overtime to solve murders . . . but to cops who hunt down motorists who aren’t wearing their seat belts.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

59 Responses to “Incentives Matter”

  1. #1 |  Ron | 

    Radley, when I agree with you, I really AGREE. Excellent post. And an important post. Thank you.

  2. #2 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    First they told us they wouldn’t pull us over for just seat belt violations.
    Then they told us we’d just get a warning.
    Then they told us it would be only $20 penalty.
    Then they…you get the picture. Bottom line, they want your money.
    And they have a badge and a gun to make sure they get it.

  3. #3 |  mr lizard | 

    At least he was harrasing imaginary motorists, who we’d all agree have no rights in this dimension, as opposed to real ones.

  4. #4 |  Matt Pearce | 

    Enforcing traffic laws matter. Typically twice as many people die in traffic accidents than are killed in homicides, making it (arguably) the bigger health threat. For that reason, that federal grants exist to promote enforcement that drive down accidents. I don’t know anything about this grant, but if it’s federal, I’m guessing NOPD is not the only department to have gotten it. And given that it’s a grant for overtime, it’s not as if officers from Traffic would be getting pulled away from other duties to do it.

    The bigger question is whether police should ever get performance bonuses for anything.

  5. #5 |  dad29 | 

    Only a few days ago Hayward observed that we now have a Gummint which spends like topsy on stuff the Left thinks is “nice” to have, while running out of money for programs which are constitutional duties.

    Yup.

  6. #6 |  Radley Balko | 

    Typically twice as many people die in traffic accidents than are killed in homicides, making it (arguably) the bigger health threat.

    But there’s a difference between protecting people from themselves and protecting people from other people. Same reason why federal anti-drug grants are problematic. It prioritizes the enforcement of consensual crimes to the detriment of crimes with actual victims.

  7. #7 |  Tolly | 

    But…but… THE CHILDREN!

    Exactly – it’s creeping paternalism.

  8. #8 |  Matt Pearce | 

    I’m of the stance that drivers who choose not to wear seatbelts cause harm far beyond themselves when killed/injured in an accident, but I’m guessing we’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

  9. #9 |  Jim | 

    As a resident of New Orleans, I always tell visiting people to avoid interacting with NOPD at all costs. I don’t know if it’s the worst police department in the U.S. as I haven’t lived everywhere, but I can’t imagine there’s one worse.

  10. #10 |  MacGregory | 

    Damn good point RB. How many unsolved murder cases in NOLA? But forget to fasten your seatbelt or have a couple drinks on your way home from work and watch the wheels of justice turn.

  11. #11 |  JS | 

    “The department received a federal grant in June that pays for overtime for officers who enforce seat-belt laws.”

    And we need to pay more taxes.

  12. #12 |  Matt | 

    I’m still trying to figure out how this guy thought his plan would work. He writes seatbelt tickets for phantom motorists. This entry goes into a database, where phantom motorist A is expected to pay a fine. Does A pay the fine? I can’t really see how he could based on his non-existence. Does the fact that legions of motorists that aren’t paying their seatbelt fine not make it onto a report somewhere? If they don’t pay their fine is there no further investigation into the matter? Letters attempting to get sent to non-existent addresses? Court summons?

    Maybe A does exist. Now things are much worse for Officer Douchenozzle. A is going to want to fight this charge, and Douchy McDoucherton is probably going to have to show up in court. This would put all sort of scrutiny on this case. I know that cops in court are often treated as infallible guardians of truth and justice, but I think this would be enough to put even that over the edge.

    So how did Officer DB hope to pull this off?

  13. #13 |  hilzoy fangirl | 

    But there’s a difference between protecting people from themselves and protecting people from other people. Same reason why federal anti-drug grants are problematic. It prioritizes the enforcement of consensual crimes to the detriment of crimes with actual victims.

    How many homicide victims are killed because they voluntarily participated in criminal activity and associated with violent people? How many lives are actually saved by one traffic enforcement officer versus one homicide detective or one beat patrol officer? It seems like it would be helpful to know the answers to these questions before turning an example of corrupt practices (corruption that was, in this case at least, caught and will hopefully be punished) into a condemnation of a broad policy choice that seems to have at least some data supporting it.

  14. #14 |  CyniCAl | 

    “Even if you don’t much care about personal freedom …”

    One of the most clever formulations of the “have you stopped beating your wife” line ever. This is why I read The Agitator every day.

  15. #15 |  JS | 

    Matt “Does A pay the fine? I can’t really see how he could based on his non-existence.”

    lol that made me laugh out for real.

  16. #16 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    #13

    Hold on just a minute, Radley’s distinction is still valid.

    Putting aside the fact that the violence associated with criminal activity appears to be the result of such activities being criminalized in the first place, the fact that a victim was murdered while participating in a voluntary activity doesn’t negate the fact that the murder itself was a coercive action against the victim. Had the murder been voluntarily agreed upon by the victim, then it would constitute suicide, which libertarians agree should also be legal.

  17. #17 |  Brian | 

    Stopping real criminals is dangerous. Stopping people who don’t wear seat belts is a free lunch.

  18. #18 |  hilzoy fangirl | 

    #16

    Someone who dies in a car accident because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt hasn’t consented to die any more than someone who dies in a botched mugging because they were walking alone at night in a desolate park. Certainly we can quibble about which risks are more or less reasonable to accept and which decisions the state should or should not enforce, but I am troubled that, when confronted with evidence that seatbelt enforcement might save more lives than homicide enforcement, Radley’s response is essentially that some victims have it coming.

  19. #19 |  Jesse | 

    Being someone that works in IT, I found it interesting that it was an officer (sworn??) in the information technology department that was doing this. Do they even go out on patrol ever? Wouldn’t someone ask what this guy was doing writing tickets to ANYBODY when his job is to sit in a computer room and keep things running?

    Curious.

  20. #20 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    #16,

    Good lord, this is another variation of the “libertarian don’t care about the crack-babies” ad hominem.

    The case Radley posted on is a clear example of the unintended consequences of rampant government intervention in society. Most, if not all, libertarians care about public safety. But you have to weigh the costs of intervention with the benefits.

  21. #21 |  RM | 

    #18

    That’s because Radley isn’t a consequentialist. If drug use killed 100,000 people a year, he still wouldn’t be pushing for drug policing over homicide policing.

    Those deaths that come about as a result of people not wearing seatbelts are the responsibility of those people, not the people who crashed into them.

  22. #22 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    Excuse me, that should say “#19“.

  23. #23 |  Achtung Coma Baby | 

    Fuck it, I still messed up.

    #18

    I wish I had paid better attention when I first posted.

  24. #24 |  anon | 

    #18 hilzoy fangirl, you are missing the distinction. Let me try and explain it as simply as I am able to.

    Libertarians believe that coercive/rights-violating actions are wrong. As #16 pointed out, a murder is rights violating, even though the victim may have been hanging out with the wrong crowd. But a car accident is not, because there is no one doing the coercion. Someone has to do the violating of rights. An act cannot be rights-violating by itself. A lighting kills a person — no one’s rights are violated. Got it?

    So a coercive law to enforce seatbelts on “lives saved” grounds holds no water for libertarians because such a law is coercive, yet what it tries to combat (accidental deaths) involves no rights violations.

  25. #25 |  c andrew | 

    @MacGregory and watch the wheels of justice turn.

    Question on perspective. Can you really watch the wheels of justice turn while being crushed underneath them? Just askin’

  26. #26 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “The department received a federal grant in June that pays for overtime for officers who enforce seat-belt laws. Rather than doing the work and writing up motorists who had violated the law, Gross, 44, wrote tickets to phantom motorists, officials said.”

    Very little good ever occurs when local and state police receive federal grants to focus on federal priorities. Gross is corrupt, no doubt, but hey, at least he was just ticketing “phantom,” instead of “doing the work,” as the article puts it.

  27. #27 |  hilzoy fangirl | 

    That’s because Radley isn’t a consequentialist.

    Right. But he’s making a consequentialist argument – or trying to, at least.

  28. #28 |  Zargon | 

    #4, #8

    Interesting, so you believe that
    1) drivers who choose not to wear seatbelts cause harm far beyond themselves when killed/injured in an accident
    2) that’s a good enough reason to prohibit such activity.

    I find it comical that the thought that others might reject #2 never even crosses your mind, and so you levy the accusation that Radley doesn’t believe #1, which is pretty much an axiom for any activity when it leads to the death/injury of a participant.

    So I suppose I’ll simply ask: Do you believe the government should prohibit all activity that could possibly lead to death/injury (for that reason)? Please provide acceptable risk levels if your answer is “sometimes”.

  29. #29 |  Radley Balko | 

    Radley’s response is essentially that some victims have it coming.

    You can’t possibly be serious. My argument is nothing of the kind. It isn’t even close. My argument is that protecting our lives and our rights from those who would do harm to us without our consent is a legitimate function of government. Prohibiting us from knowingly and willingly engaging in risky behavior is not.

    This means that while I would vigorously oppose a law that would station cops in fast food restaurants to issue citations to obese people who order and eat crappy food, this does not mean I think that those people deserve to die of a heart attack. I would also oppose government prohibitions on risky sexual behavior. This doesn’t mean I think people who engage in such behavior deserve to contract or die from sexually transmitted diseases.

    Do I need to give more examples?

  30. #30 |  Matt Pearce | 

    #28, I grant that Radley can believe the first point but not the second. I got imprecise.

    But to your final point/leading question, no. That would mean prohibiting driving, and that’s stupid. In either case, it doesn’t matter, because Radley told us to put aside the liberty question to ask how traffic enforcement could warrant funds over, say, preventing homicide, and I provided an answer.

  31. #31 |  Dave Krueger | 

    In my opinion, the job of law enforcement is not to protect people from themselves no matter how many lives they can save by doing so. Cops do a job specific to the fact that they have been entrusted with a monopoly on the use of force, the key ingredient to apprehending people who have committed (note the past tense) injuries against others. By catching people who have committed crimes, they de-incentivize it, thereby reducing crime.

    Of course, catching people who have committed real crimes is hard because they hide and don’t tell anyone. So, law enforcement now has a whole new agenda. They make up crimes that allow them to arrest innocent people. They have gun laws to criminalize people before the commit a gun crime. They have sex, gambling, and drug laws to criminalize activities that they argue might lead someone to commit a real crime. But, that’s not enough. Now, one of the major strategies they use is to lure innocent people into committing a crime so they can arrest them. From there they went to warrantless searches and data mining to identify ordinary activities that can be used against innocent people (carrying a lot of cash, buying grow lights, buying cold medicine, etc.). So, how much of a stretch is it from that to just making shit up from nothing? Not much.

    The idea that the justice system is there to shield you from yourself or even “the bad guys” borders on irrational. They can’t do that and by wasting time doing so, they are not doing the job they should be doing.

  32. #32 |  Matt Pearce | 

    Wait, no, nevermind, he didn’t say put aside the liberty question. I’m an idiot. Sorry.

  33. #33 |  Mendelism | 

    To complete HF’s analogy at #18, if the police were charged with patrolling desolate parks and handing out fines for anyone found walking around alone, under the pretense that this will reduce violent crime, I (and presumably Radley) would be offended at that idea. For the very same reasons as the seat belt laws. The cost-benefit analysis is immaterial. Contra your 6:02 post, this is not a consequentialist argument, as far as I can tell.

  34. #34 |  hilzoy fangirl | 

    You can’t possibly be serious. My argument is nothing of the kind. It isn’t even close. My argument is that protecting our lives and our rights from those who would do harm to us without our consent is a legitimate function of government. Prohibiting us from knowingly and willingly engaging in risky behavior is not.

    Which is fine, but when you make the argument that police should enforce homicide laws but not seatbelt laws “[e]ven if you don’t much care about personal freedom” because of all the lives that they could be saving, you can’t fall back on consent as the answer when confronted with data that suggests that more lives could be saved the other way around.

  35. #35 |  Highway | 

    hf, Matt Pearce was the one who brought the number of lives ‘saved’ into it as an argument *against* the point Radley was making, which was then rebutted by making a distinction between ‘protecting people from others who harm them, or protecting them from themselves.’

    You then transmogrified that into the argument that was being made by the people in support of the original post, which it never was.

  36. #36 |  Les | 

    hilzoy, I think Radley’s point is pretty obvious in the last sentence. Is it more important that cops solve and prevent murders or enforce seatbelt laws? The cops in New Orleans are being encouraged to do the latter instead of the former, and that would be wrong even if NO didn’t have such a high murder rate.

  37. #37 |  Ariel | 

    I’ve always looked at this simply: laws should protect us from others and education (meaning more than schooling but including experience of others) protects us from ourselves. In making a contract with an insurer, the insurer has all rights in charging an amount to statistically protect itself from our suffering of either.

    So if you said you always wear a seatbelt but you weren’t, you would really harm your family. Thus they are more educated. Callous perhaps but you made the decision and they will remember you well but think poorly of you. Same for motorcycle helmets.

    But then again, think of the children..

  38. #38 |  hilzoy fangirl | 

    hf, Matt Pearce was the one who brought the number of lives ‘saved’ into it as an argument *against* the point Radley was making, which was then rebutted by making a distinction between ‘protecting people from others who harm them, or protecting them from themselves.’

    If that isn’t the implicit point of Radley’s post, wherein he states that he is attempting to persuade those who “don’t much care about personal freedom,” then I’m lost as to what he is trying to say. Obviously someone who is opposed to seat belt laws because such laws infringe on her concept of personal freedom is going to view the enforcement of those laws as unimportant, so talking about other laws that could instead be enforced is not necessary to persuade such a person; the comparison between seat belt enforcement and homicide enforcement that Radley first brought up is relevant only from the perspective of consequentialist policy making.

    hilzoy, I think Radley’s point is pretty obvious in the last sentence. Is it more important that cops solve and prevent murders or enforce seatbelt laws?

    Right. And if he is intending to persuade people who “don’t much care about personal freedom,” he’s unlikely to succeed if he counters the possibility that seatbelt enforcement saves more lives by saying that those lives are less worth saving because of personal freedom.

  39. #39 |  Mendelism | 

    I guess that’s the most straightforward interpretation, so I’ll back off a bit from my earlier post. But there’s room there for another take, which is, even if you don’t care much about personal freedom, presumably you care at least a little bit about personal freedom, such that prioritizing victimless “crimes” like not wearing a seatbelt above legitimate crimes like homicide, is pretty audacious. Still not a consequentialist argument, but certianly you’re right that the 2nd to last paragraph in the post seemed like that’s where he was headed.

  40. #40 |  Bill | 

    hilzoy fangirl, you seem sincere, so I’ll pitch in. Perhaps one reason why it’s better to have police working on solving homicides and locking up murderers rather than enforcing seat belt laws is that pretty much every one of us can solve their own seat belt problem for themselves (put on your seatbelt!), but not every one of us is capable of defending themselves against a murderous attack, or of apprehending, trying and imprisoning murderers. Therefore, it makes sense for those who have been trained and empowered to carry weapons, search for evidence of crimes, come up with suspects and make arrests to deal with the murder problem, trusting the rest of us to buckle our own seatbelts.

  41. #41 |  dunphy | 

    NOPD has been a national laughingstock for years, btw. It’s corruption is famous.

    i agree with the general point about the inappropriateness of “saving people from themselves” by punishing their not wearing s/belts, with one exception – in many cases, those w/o seatbelts and/or child safety seats, etc. are kids/infants, and in that case, seatbelt enforcement is legitimate unless one believes that (for example) 5 yr olds are autonomous beings and that their parents do not have a duty to protect them in various ways, such as insisting they wear a seatbelt and/or for infants/toddlers – a car seat.

    the park/restaurant analogies though are somewhat specious because neither eating in a restaurant nor walking in a park are privileges. driving is. being a passenger in a car, however is not.

  42. #42 |  TC | 

    They did the same sort of shit here in tiny town with cross walks for jaywalkers!

    TOTAL FUCKING waste of our money!!!

    Would not swear to it, but I think it was a fed program that handed out the money. The little city just opened their hands and stepped up in order to git sum!

  43. #43 |  BamBam | 

    @38, Radley clearly stated his point. It is NOT the proper role of government to “protect” you from yourself. If you engage in “risky” behavior, then you should suffer the potential consequences. It matters not that “seatbelt use saves lives”, as FORCING people by way of law to wear a seatbelt is protecting people from themselves (e.g. deciding not to wear a seatbelt). This is not the proper role of government.

    I argue that NOT letting people suffer the consequences of their actions is destructive, as it removes the need to learn lessons from mistakes because Big Mama Nanny Government will decide everything for you, and if you don’t COMPLY then you will be punished. Government isn’t exactly the beacon of unbridled truth — it’s quite the opposite, nothing but lies to control the masses that aren’t smart enough to question what they are told.

  44. #44 |  Windy | 

    Slightly related, I wear my seatbelt (thanks to getting a $65 ticket about 10 years ago, better by far than the speeding ticket for the 10 mph I was doing over the speed limit which had just changed from 35 to 25 on that stretch of road, which the cop chose to ignore, tho the ticket was still an annoyance), but I hate those damn things. They are not designed for women, they chafe my upper chest and neck in summer when I’m wearing low-cut, sleeveless, etc. tops, they do NOT fit between my breasts but instead dig into one or the other depending on whether I’m the driver or the passenger. What the hell is wrong with designers of these things that they don’t take these female issues into account when designing seatbelts?

  45. #45 |  Les | 

    And if he is intending to persuade people who “don’t much care about personal freedom,” he’s unlikely to succeed if he counters the possibility that seatbelt enforcement saves more lives by saying that those lives are less worth saving because of personal freedom.

    What do you mean by, “less worth saving?” This has nothing to do with the value of lives, but rather with the proper role of government and the resources used to run it.

    If I say that alcohol should be legal to buy and consume, does it then follow that I’m saying that the lives lost because of alcohol abuse are less worth saving than the lives of people who are trapped in burning buildings? Of course not, because I’ve not said anything about the value of human lives, only the value of personal autonomy.

    If those people who are trapped in burning buildings set the fires themselves accidentally because they were allowed to own matches, does my belief that they should not have been prevented from owning those matches imply that their lives are less worth saving because of personal freedom?

    The opinion that individuals should have autonomous control over their bodies and the risks they take with their bodies is totally unrelated to opinions on the relative value of those lives.

    One could say, I suppose, that those who believe in the freedom to do dangerous things value life less than those who believe that the government should decide which activities are safe enough to allow and which are too dangerous to allow. But that would be silly.

  46. #46 |  Highway | 

    Windy, just a suggestion that it sounds like you don’t have the seatbelt adjusted properly. It should never be near your neck, perhaps you have it too high on the car’s B-pillar (and if you have one of those vehicles where it’s mounted on the seat, that’s too bad). You can also look for padding that wraps around the seat belt if the edges are chafing you.

  47. #47 |  MH | 

    “i agree with the general point about the inappropriateness of “saving people from themselves” by punishing their not wearing s/belts, with one exception – in many cases, those w/o seatbelts and/or child safety seats, etc. are kids/infants [...]”

    I think New Hampshire has it right, with mandatory seatbelts for people under age 18, but no such requirement for adults.

  48. #48 |  DarkEFang | 

    Maybe I missed it, but usually whenever people argue about seatbelt laws, pretty much the first issue the pro-seatbelt-law side brings up is that unrestrained vehicle passengers become projectiles that may harm others, either in their own vehicle or in other vehicles.

    I would think that kind of thing happens rarely, but I’ve heard claims that it isn’t that rare. I haven’t seen any statistics, though.

  49. #49 |  marco73 | 

    My dad was a state trooper in the 60’s and 70’s. Yes, he used to have pictures of accidents where people were thrown around inside the car, injuring and killing other passengers. Also, when a person is ejected from a vehicle, they tend to come into contact with hard surfaces, such as roads, trees, and other vehicles. Even an accident at relatively slow speeds can vault an unbelted person through the windshield.
    I don’t necessarily agree with chasing people down to write them a ticket for not wearing their seatbelt, but personally, I don’t even move the car around in the driveway without putting on my seat belt.
    This cop was padding his paycheck with overtime for phantom tickets? Come on, where is the new professionalism?

  50. #50 |  GaryM | 

    It’s all about making people feel controlled. In Belmont, Mass., there’s a nice park which lately has been dominated by a gigantic flashing sign threatening people with seat belt tickets. Cops patrolling dangerous neighborhoods don’t make the average honest citizen feel intimidated the way seat-belt surveillance does.

  51. #51 |  Highway | 

    marco at #49:
    but personally, I don’t even move the car around in the driveway without putting on my seat belt.

    This is what should be done. People in my vehicle use seatbelts, because I tell them to. And really, most people use a seatbelt because they realize it makes them safer, not because ‘the law’ says they have to. This is the same mechanism that is in control of drunk driving now. The people who drive drunk, or don’t wear their seatbelt, are gonna be those folks who aren’t swayed by the law.

    Look at the current distracted driving cause celebre: phones. Maryland passed a law saying “No hand held phones, no texting, no email while driving”. The law hasn’t stopped *anyone* as far as I can tell. It’s not that it’s primary or secondary enforcement because, honestly, a cop could pull anyone over they wanted to at any time for some suspected violation, then hit them with a ‘secondary’ violation for a cell phone. It’s that people don’t realize it’s the wrong thing to do. The people who already don’t use phones while driving are the ones who realize this. Maybe more people need to have an epiphany, or maybe more people need to have a close scare. I don’t know. But it’s not laws that will turn it around, just like it wasn’t laws with seatbelts or drunk driving (both trends were well on their way down when the laws were enacted).

  52. #52 |  dunphy | 

    “just like it wasn’t laws with seatbelts or drunk driving (both trends were well on their way down when the laws were enacted).”

    sorry, don’t buy that on drunk (impaired driving). what helped drastically reduce DUI and specifically DUI deaths and injuries was aggressive enforcement, proactive enforcement, legislation, better training, etc.

    what;’s ironic is that this was primarily spearheaded by groups like MADD, not the govt. govt. reacted to their pressure

  53. #53 |  Highway | 

    It’s not ironic that government responded to an interest group’s pressure. That’s how most of these crusading laws are passed: Helmet, seatbelt, safety features in cars, etc etc. There are pressure groups that exert that pressure on government agencies and elected officials. Then they get the ear of NHTSA or FHWA or whoever, and get their legislation considered.

  54. #54 |  Mannie | 

    #18 | hilzoy fangirl | August 22nd, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    #16

    Someone who dies in a car accident because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt hasn’t consented to die any more than someone who dies in a botched mugging because they were walking alone at night in a desolate park.

    Someone who contracts HIV after having unprotected anal sex hasn’t consented to die any more than someone who dies in an auto crash. Ergo, we should outlaw anal sex. Oh wait …

    Someone who dies of congestive heart failure because he ate too much fatty food hasn’t consented to die any more than someone who dies in an auto crash. Ergo, we should regulate what people are allowed to eat. Oh wait …

    Get the State the hell out of the trivia of my life.

  55. #55 |  BBCC | 

    More and more I wonder if bureaucracies are simply looking for ways to seem productive. While the more important consideration would be to solve murder cases, there’s probably a pretty big chance that even all that extra man power may or may not lead to any real outcomes. On the other hand, programs that can create large quantifiable databases of police activity make for good press.

  56. #56 |  John | 

    I really love the federal grant part of this. I remember when the law was being discussed and had little public support. Congressmen were stating publicly that we shouldn’t worry; the seat belt law would never be informed on it’s own; it would only be something that was added to some other violation for which a person was pulled over for.

  57. #57 |  Bill | 

    #51, thanks for mentioning the distracted driving issue. After all, if it’s not illegal for me to be distracted by my cell phone, how can I be distracted by all the big, colorful, often-animated billboards and computerized signs along the road?

  58. #58 |  Incentives Matter | The Agitator « Daniel J. Smith | 

    [...] http://www.theagitator.com/2011/08/22/incentives-matter/ [...]

  59. #59 |  Um, what? | chris gaun | 

    [...] ‘libertarians are often mocked” when they turn horribly designed pay incentives into an argument against seat belt laws: http://www.theagitator.com/2011/08/22/incentives-matter/ [...]

Leave a Reply