Will Driverless Cars Spell Doom for Law Enforcement Budgets?
Colin Neagle draws thought-provoking parallels between the consequences of marijuana legalization and driverless cars. First there's what we know about the impact of marijuana legalization. As pointed out by Neagle: "One drug task force in Snohomish County, Washington, reduced its budget forecast by 15% after the state voted to legalize marijuana."
Then there is what we still don't know about law-abiding driverless cars: "Just as drug cops will lose the income they had seized from pot dealers, state and local governments will need to account for a drastic reduction in fines from traffic violations as autonomous cars stick to the speed limit."
The amount of money that trades hand as a result of traffic scofflaws is massive, so the impacts could be large: "Approximately 41 million people receive speeding tickets in the U.S. every year, paying out more than $6.2 billion per year, according to statistics from the U.S. Highway Patrol published at StatisticBrain.com. That translates to an estimate $300,000 in speeding ticket revenue per U.S. police officer every year."
Neagle also wrestles with how the potential loss of revenue impact might hit especially hard in tough times, when police departments have been known to make up budget shortfalls by writing more tickets.