Shame on you: New York mayor wants to humiliate speeders

Nobody likes speeders, but some people are willing to go to extremes to enforce the law. On a talk radio show, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said he wanted to “shame” drivers who are caught speeding.

“We’ll put up their names and pictures someplace,” Bloomberg said on his weekly appearance on the John Gambling Show. “Maybe we can shame them, and we should look at that, because if Albany is not going to let us do this stuff, we’ve got to save lives.”

According to the New York Times, Bloomberg turned to public humiliation after the state legislature failed to vote on a bill authorizing speed cameras in the city. The cameras take a picture of a speeding car’s license plate as it drives by, so authorities can mail the offender a ticket. New York officials wanted to issue fines up to $100 for repeat offenders.

The speed limit in New York City is 30 mph and, according to a 2010 New York City Department of Transport study, 70 percent of drivers believe speed is a problem in the city.

“We have thousands and thousands of corners, and we don’t have the money for thousands and thousands of cops standing on every corner,” Bloomberg said. “Using technology you would think would be the most efficient thing. It would stop people from breaking the law.”

New York probably doesn’t have enough billboard space to post photos of all its speeders, but social media might take care of that problem. Then again, would people deliberately go to a Twitter feed or Facebook page just to mock people for speeding? Maybe Bloomberg could mark people’s cars with a scarlet “S.”

As mayor, Bloomberg has done a lot to make New York healthier and safer, but his latest idea is a bit too much. Adding bike lanes and banning the sale of trans-fat were important initiatives; “shaming” drivers shouldn’t be anything more than an off-the-cuff radio show remark.

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