Let’s face it, when you’re broke, you do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. Because the state is broke, and because its governor is a tax- restraint advocate, and the legislators know tax hikes would be perilous just now, they may do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. Nevada could end up with traffic surveillance cameras.
Here’s a fact the governor and the gang of 63 should not ignore. People don’t care for photo surveillance of their driving. Electronic traffic enforcement is universally hated, everywhere it exists. Eleven times traffic surveillance cameras have gone to the ballot in the United States, and every time they’ve been crushed, according to the Washington Post. Not beaten, but crushed.
Some taxpayers are offended by the contracts with camera manufacturers, in which equipment is offered with no up-front charge, in return for a cut of the revenue. It’s also notable that in most electronic surveillance jurisdictions, the violations don’t end up on the driver’s record, and don’t rack up insurance points. It’s obvious the sole purpose of the scheme is to ring the cash register. Citizens find that distasteful.
There’s no limit to the mischief the cameras inspire. Kids have created fake license plates in Photoshop, using numbers belonging to people they don’t like – then sped into camera range, creating a literal drive-by attack with the victim’s own vehicle registration as the weapon. There’s been at least one documented case of surveillance rage, where an angry driver smashed a traffic cam. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, well, this one is priceless.
Entrepreneurs are happy to supply products that help drivers evade the cameras. A product called PhotoBlocker Spray renders the license number unreadable to the camera, but still visible to the human eye.
Of course, activists create anti-surveillance websites like this one, and this one, and there are crusading lawyers who sue. Citizens take the issue to the ballot, and ultimately, legislatures ban electronic surveillance.
Yes, the Reasonable Reporter is aware that Governor Gibbons would propose surveillance only for the purpose of catching uninsured motorists, not red light runners or speeders. Who could object to that? Maybe, in a year when government is dead broke at all levels, few people will care if the state plays big brother to insurance deadbeats. But if you think the state will never entertain broader use of this equipment, you’re too innocent to leave the house by yourself.