This week’s Justify Your Existence is Alfredo Munoz of S.O.S. Ticket. You’ll recall earlier this month there was some dust kicked up at a new service from this ticket-fighting brigade setup by a former police officer. That service alerts drivers to radar speed traps, so they can slow down and not get a ticket.
The article (which Kate thinks has an editorializing headline but I think is a legitimate question, even though I didn’t write it) is cut off online. Here’s the missing text:
Alerts are given to drivers by text message on their cellphones. Doesn’t that encourage dangerous cellphone use while driving?
We can walk and chew gum at the same time. It takes a second to read, and you can hold the cellphone in front of you as you read it, to keep your eyes on the road. It doesn’t worry me. We’ve studied this. Ads on the side of the road or drinking a coffee are more of a distraction than a text message.
I talked with Munoz last week in the small company’s log-cabin-like offices in Old Montreal, around the corner from the municipal courthouse. He sat me down on his expensive-looking leather couch and we talked for a while about the ethics of his service and tickets in general.
Munoz, a young technically-proficient businessman, not only didn’t agree that what he was doing was morally questionable. He feels he’s helping society through this service:
- It keeps the idea of speed traps in drivers’ heads, so they’re conscious that they need to slow down
- Because it relies on members reporting speed traps, it’s not 100% and won’t encourage people to drive faster because they can never be sure a cop isn’t there
- Everyone speeds anyway. It isn’t less safe
- Speeding tickets don’t make highways safer, they just bring in more money to the police
- Dangerous driving is caused by 16-18-year-olds who are taught about signage and the highway code but not how to drive safely or keep a car under control in an emergency
Munoz sees S.O.S. Ticket as the only true force representing regular car drivers. He philosophizes that nobody has ever changed the world by being liked by everyone.
Whether he does more good than harm is something for you to decide.