When we break the rules or even slightly violate traffic laws, most of us hear the small voice of conscience in our own heads. But what if that voice of conscience appeared on your cellphone instead of in your mind? Would you be more likely to slow down or make a full stop at a red light? Or would you be annoyed that you were being called out?
These are the questions that will soon be put to the test in our nation’s capital. According to news sources, the city of Washington, D.C., is launching a pilot program in which it will send personalized text messages and/or mail messages to drivers with a certain number of traffic infractions on their records.
Will safety be improved?
The stated goal of the program is to encourage better driving choices and save lives. Research shows that there is a correlation between a high number of infractions and an increased crash risk. The link seems intuitive, because people who violate traffic laws probably drive dangerously and are therefore more likely to cause a traffic accident.
It is important to remember, however, that correlation is not the same as causation. The link between the two could have other explanations. For instance, those with multiple infractions may just be driving more than other people, or they may be driving in areas with more stringent enforcement measures (such as the speed and red-light cameras concentrated in D.C.’s commuter corridors).
Could this be a sign of things to come?
Right now, sending personalized text messages warning about driver behavior is a novel idea being tested one city. But if it proves to be effective, cities around the country might soon be joining in – including here in Georgia. Would this be a welcome change, or a major annoyance?
Remember: There are benefits to a clean driving record
While it would only be a small interference in daily life, the risk of receiving a moralizing text message is yet one more reason why it often makes sense to contest traffic tickets with the help of an experienced attorney. In addition to keeping insurance rates reasonable and avoiding eventual license suspension, fighting your traffic tickets might just keep nagging messages off your phone.