Archived Opinion

Let speeders pre-pay for the privilege

Let speeders pre-pay for the privilege

I think most of you would agree that there are more people speeding, and speeding faster on the highways with less enforcement in evidence than there used to be a while back. Well, I have a suggestion concerning that, and I will ask you all, “Why not?” But first a few caveats.

The first caveat is: this is my wife’s idea. She mentioned it kind of in jest, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. So! If you think, like I do, that it is brilliant, please remember you heard it from me. On the other hand, if you find this silly and ridiculous, well, this was my wife’s idea.

Second caveat: Great ideas come sometimes from brainstorming. True. But I’m soon 74 and most of my thoughts meander. No storms here. But as some of these readers may know, when your mind wanders, you can notice so many treasures that the stormers miss. I hope this is one of the treasures.

Third caveat: We are told to think outside the box for great solutions. So I am going to suggest this; what if you don’t know where the box is? Getting outside is easy. There is a “Ted Lasso” episode where Coach Lasso wants to resign from the team because, having been an American football coach, he has no grasp at all of English football (soccer), the team he has been hired to coach. The owner of the club assures him that he is her secret weapon because none of the other teams will expect what he will do because he doesn’t understand the game. I present my idea with those same credentials. Full disclosure.

Now, I don’t know anything about how law enforcement is hired, I have no idea whatsoever how they much they are paid, where the revenues come from, and certainly not the foggiest as to the process of deploying these valuable resources. So, clearly for me, I have no parameters (box) to make this suggestion (my wife’s idea, remember.)

So, speeding. Why can’t the speeders prepay some sort of fine and be allowed to speed? You could prepay to do 70, 80, or 90! Personally, I think 90 should cost a prohibitive amount, but that’s just my humble opinion.

Related Items

Look, folks prepaying to speed would generate incredible revenues. Some of this windfall would have to go for the enforcement electronics I’m about to propose, but there should be much more to go toward hiring more law enforcement and paying them better, possibly resulting in safer roads.

Now I hear some of you saying, “But Rich, how could the roads be safer if you’re allowing people to speed with no fear of getting caught and fined?” Good point. But, I don’t think everyone will ante up the dough to be allowed to speed, and there will be more enforcement to punish those that don’t! Plus, it will be great for the economy.

And some of you are saying, “But Ricky, not everyone can afford to pay that money. It’s not fair to the poor people.” OK, good point. But first of all, our nation is based on democracy where everyone should have the right to vote, and it’s based on capitalism which means not everyone is equal. But, to make this more equitable to everyone, I am suggesting the Snitch Program. Let’s say you want to do 75 mph this year and you don’t have the money. But you know your Cousin Vinnie goes out I-40 everyday about noon doing 90 in a red Volkswagen convertible. You let the State Police know and when they ticket him, you get Snitch Points toward your Speeding Pass. With enough cousins and in-laws, you can speed for free. Plus, enforcement is more efficient. Win-Win, right?

Now you’re asking “Ricardo, how can this be enforced?” Good question. If you have traveled much, you know many areas have toll roads, toll bridges and toll lanes. There is a transmitter you get when you establish your prepay account and as you pass through a toll gate, your passage is noted and deducted from your account. Computers!! So, if you have prepaid to speed every day, when you pass a law enforcement checkpoint, their electronics tell them that you are prepaid, you’re good. But someone doing 80 who is not prepaid is easily cut from the herd and branded. I mean, ticketed.

Now you’re thinking “But Ricky, this means only the wealthy can speed?” Well, there is a long history of wealth privilege. Lucky for us, we are a democracy where everyone should get the right to vote. But, we are a capitalist society where the more successful have advantages. Why not make them share their wealth with law enforcement? A prepay system of speeding helps bring some important revenues to the communities. I’ll leave it to statisticians and accountants to project the wealth. Again, outside my invisible box.

Well anyway, I think my wife had a pretty good idea, so I leave it to you. Just tell me, “Why not?” 

(Rich Byers is a retired ESL teacher and tractor trailer driver who lives in Waynesville.)

Leave a comment

1 comment

  • Speeding is a safety issue. Highways have certain design requirements and exceeding the design speed, a regular occurrence here in WNC, is safety hazard to everyone on the road, not just the cretin who thinks he's a privileged person who doesn't have to obey the law.

    posted by Quartermaster

    Thursday, 01/05/2023

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.