Imagine a red light that never goes green – unless you obey.
The speed limit. Whatever it is.
And sends you a ticket via mail if you don’t.
Say hello to FRED – feu de ralentissement éducatif – which the French Canadian government is testing out as an “educational traffic calming light” that does more than “educate.”
FRED has built-in radar that “educates” itself about the speed of an approaching car; if the car is going faster than whatever the programmed in speed limit is, it turns red – and stays red – stopping the car (and traffic) for no other reason, such as cross traffic. These FRED lights are installed in the manner of speed bumps.
Which is to say, they are designed to annoy – and mulct – drivers.
If the driver ignores whatever the speed limit is – or the light – FRED mails a ticket to the registered owner of the car. It knows who that is via the plate reader system that is at the heart of FRED.
Jalopnik – a “car site” financed by the Huffington Post, which was financed by leftist heiress Arianna Huffington, who made off with a lot of her ex’s money – seal-claps approvingly. It says “good drivers” “keep to the speed limit” and that FRED “forces fast drivers to stop and gives them a chance to really consider their life choices.”
Try to image Brock Yates or Patrick Bedard typing out such a sentence.
This is the sort of writing – and commentary – one finds at most “car sites” nowadays. (More about that here.)
This mostly unquestioned tautology that “good drivers” ” keep to the speed limit” really ought to be questioned as it lies at the heart of much of the serial abuse of drivers who aren’t bad.
Are professional race car drivers bad drivers?
How about the cops who enforce speed limits who serially drive faster than whatever they are? Often much faster – in order to catch the “speeder”? Is that not also, ipso facto, “bad” driving, too?
If not, why?
The Jalopnik writer does not even ask such questions, let alone answer them. This is to be expected given the writer is a former “web designer” for GM, who regards transportation as a “civil rights issue.”
Instead, she seal-claps approvingly about FRED being installed to deal with a “plague” of “throttle-happy” drivers in Quebec. She does not explore whether these drivers have caused any harm; instead she assumes – reflexively, as if on cue – that to drive any faster than the speed limit is, ipso facto, synonymous with “bad” driving.
It is an obvious idiocy openly admitted-to by the cops who enforce these limits – who routinely do not enforce them if the driver is only “speeding” a little bit, as for example five or so miles-per-hour faster than whatever the limit is. Who also “give breaks” to those who go faster by reducing the cited number to something less than what the radar gun said – but still enough to generate the “ticket” (and, of course, the fine).
In fact, many cops regard it as “suspicious” to drive at – or below – whatever the speed limit is and will sometimes use that as the basis for a pretextual fishing expedition stop. In any case, the point is that driving faster than whatever the posted limit is does not mean one is a “bad” driver. All it means is that one is driving faster than whatever the sign says you may.
Well, so what?
How is it that signage became religious? Something akin to a totem pole that must be kow-towed to because otherwise the gods will be angered?
Well, just that. The “gods” – that is, the government – will be angered. But instead of darkening skies and thunderbolts, tickets rain down upon the sinful.
The Jalopnik-GM woman seal-claps some more:
“You can see FRED in action in what is by far the jauntiest free music ever to grace a traffic light in action.” Because it makes you want to dance and clap your hands to be forced to apply the brakes.
Well, it makes certain kinds of people want to do that. It’s just unsettling to find them writing for car sites. But then, such sites are more interested these days in “transportation,” which is something that can be provided by a bus or a train that goes exactly as fast – or as slowly – as the government says.
FRED “… does more than just slow down thoughtless speeders. It relays important statical information back to the city about traffic and driver behavior on the road.”
Cue the seal-clapping.
. . .
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