Safe Routes org drops ‘enforcement’ from organizing framework

A Portland police officer rides by Vernon School in the Alberta neighborhood during a 2014 enforcement action.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“Being an anti-racist organization… we are committed to continuing to take clear and decisive steps to undo the systems that prevent Black people, indigenous people, and people of color from moving around.”
— Safe Routes Partnership

Cities and organizations have spent nearly two decades developing “safe routes to school” plans to keep kids safe on streets while they walk and bike to class. Guiding their work since around 2005 has been a concept known as “The 5 Es”. This approach says the best way to boost non-car trips is to focus on a mix of education, encouragement, engineering, evaluation, and enforcement.

That last “E” of enforcement has fallen out of favor in recent years because of how policing has a disproportionate impact on people of color.

Today, amid nationwide protests and outrage over racism in our police system, the nonprofit Safe Routes to School Partnership announced “enforcement” will no longer be a part of their organizing framework. The Partnership has an active advocacy presence in our region and is the leading national voice for Safe Routes with connections to major groups like the AARP, National PTA, America Heart Association, and many others.

“Over the past several years, our organization has actively worked to advance social justice and racial equity,” reads a statement published by the organization today. “And we have struggled with the Enforcement E for some time… Through an examination of what is within our organization’s ability to change, and more importantly listening to our staff, organizational partners, and partners in the field, we know that approach is no longer sufficient.”

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The Safe Routes Partnership says they’re an “anti-racist organization”, committed to, “clear and decisive steps to undo the systems that prevent Black people, indigenous people, and people of color from moving around…” and that they will no longer recommend the use of law enforcement-based programs.

“We know our history and we seek to correct it.”
— Kari Schlosshauer, Safe Routes Partnership Pacific Northwest

Supplanting “enforcement” will be a new “E” of engagement. Reflecting the importance of letting impacted communities lead, the Partnership says, “It will be the first E as listening to community members and working with existing community organizations is how Safe Routes to School initiatives should begin.”

The City of Portland has grappled with this enforcement issue as well. While not a large part of their Safe Routes to School program, the Portland Bureau of Transportation currently partners with the Portland Police Bureau to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws around schools. For PBOT, the tension around enforcement is within their Vision Zero and traffic safety programs.

When developing their Vision Zero Action Plan in 2015 PBOT and community partners opted to prioritize data and equity — not enforcement — to make streets safer. There was significant disagreement on PBOT’s Vision Zero Task Force about the role of enforcement, but they ultimately voted to not include any stepped-up policing in their official recommendations. Their concerns centered around a lack of trust of the PPB and fears of racial profiling.

“The enforcement actions in this plan are limited in order to reduce the possibility of racial profiling and disparate economic impacts,” the final Vision Zero plan reads.

This new scrutiny on police in Safe Routes programming comes as Portland works to remove PPB school resource officers (SROs) from high school campuses. Regional leaders with Safe Routes Partnership strongly support that move. While school-based police were a big part of the group’s guidance in the past, recent research shows they contribute to the “school-to-prison pipeline”.

Asked about this issue on Twitter last week, Safe Routes Partnership Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager Kari Schlosshauer (who we interviewed in 2018) said, “We acknowledge that SRTS [Safe Routes to School] programs have relied on Enforcement with police, and have not listened enough to concerns from Black communities and youth of color. We know our history and we seek to correct it.”

“The bottom line,” she continued, “is that defunding SROs supports what Black youth and families have been asking for for years. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it.”

Tomorrow Portland City Council will take on the topic of police reform. Leading that discussion will be City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty who will push for five budget amendments targeted at reducing the power and influence of the PPB.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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mark
mark
2 years ago

Without enforcement of traffic laws, what options do we have to reduce traffic violence? I’m concerned that engagement will not be enough, nor will education be able to reach dangerous drivers and habitual offenders.

Jason Britton
Jason Britton
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

How has having armed police reduced traffic violence?

mark
mark
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Britton

I’m not saying officers need to be armed, but if drivers can drive recklessly without fear of prosecution, what other means do we have to disincentivize that behavior?

Automated enforcement is one idea, but there are many problematic issues. As it stands now, the vehicle operator needs to be clearly identifiable, since a citation cannot be issued to the registered vehicle owner. My understanding is that the photo radar images are viewed by a human officer before a citation is issued, which leaves room for bias. It has proven very difficult to even install automated enforcement, because motorists view it as a violation of their “rights,” never mind that driving is not a right, but a privilege.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

How much bias is there in administering a ticket that was a result of an automated process? You’re saying there “could be” when we don’t know “how much”. We can argue about placement of such cameras, but that is a different issue and much more likely to be biased.

I mean, it’s not like triggering a speed camera is subjective. And if you are truly concerned, then perhaps a cop who is a BIPOC could do the viewing.

mark
mark
2 years ago

I’d rather change to law to allow the ticket to just go to the registered owner of the vehicle. That way, there’s no room for bias. If the registered owner is not the driver, they can either take the citation, or give up the person who was using their car.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 years ago

Another option is to put governors on all motor vehicles, something they are apparently experimenting with in Australia. The motor vehicles can only go as fast as the posted speed limit, with the vehicles communicating directly with the signs (or rather electronic readers on the back of the signs), as well as signals and stop signs. Of course this doesn’t eliminate issues with hitting pedestrians, bicyclists, other vehicles, and the odd creature that unexpectedly gets in the way, but it’s one step in the right direction.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Britton

So when some gun-toting hick in a pickup blows through a school zone at 40mph and gets pulled over by an “unarmed traffic enforcement officer”, what happens? Would you want that job?

Dave B
Dave B
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

For speeding in particular I do hope, as Mark says, that we expand automated enforcement—and school zones are an obvious place, both practically and politically, for cameras.

But just as current camera enforcement does not require anyone to get out of the car, human speed enforcement does not necessarily need anyone to get out of the car—or even to open the window. You need a measured speed, and a picture of the driver.

That could reduce some forms of discrimination—because no one would talk their way out of a ticket—and remove some of the elements of traditional police enforcement that most often create dangerous moments: no questioning, no reaching for the glove box.

idlebytes
idlebytes
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

What happens when they get a parking ticket? Usually they just act rude or dismissive rarely do they pull a gun. We enforce a lot of laws upon gun-toting Americans without law enforcement most of them don’t shoot someone over it. Seems like a pretty flimsy excuse for keeping the status quo.

J_R
J_R
2 years ago
Reply to  idlebytes

An unarmed security guard was shot and killed for asking someone to wear a mask. That certainly qualifies as a flimsy excuse.

James S
James S
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Ever been to a bar or club? Civilians are asked to deal with angry drunk hick bros every night.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  James S

Somehow it feels a little more confrontational to threaten arrest or license renovation then it does to stop serving someone at a bar.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  James S

BTW, I voted this comment down because of the anti-rural stereotyping it contained.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

“Fixing social issues that lead to many traffic law violations…”

What social issues are you referring to?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

Do you really believe that people drive too fast in school zones because their economic and health needs aren’t being met? Really?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

I don’t think I mischaracterized your statement, and it wasn’t my intent to “call you out”. You are a thought-leader in a community heavily invested in traffic safety, so it is surprising that you would abandon enforcement for unproven and speculative alternatives. (Unarmed enforcement is a non-starter in an environment where some would rather murder an officer than risk being identified and taken into custody. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is.)

Abandoning traffic enforcement is tantamount to surrendering the fight for increased traffic safety, at least for the decades it will take to rebuild our streets to Vision Zero standards. I, for one, am not on board with that concession.

It is probably worth remembering that the data (at least what I’ve seen, and have posted before) shows that the traffic police do not have a record of disparate enforcement. If this is still true, then perhaps rather than defunding the traffic police, we should hold them up as a model of policing done right.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

Would you reconsider your position on the current model of traffic policing if the data showed “fair” and “non-abusive” enforcement?

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“it is surprising that you would abandon enforcement for unproven and speculative alternatives.“

I think the problem here is that, e.g., Hello, Kitty consistently refuses to allow the possibility that we could imagine (and trust us to bring about) a different approach, a different framing of the problem, something that may lie outside of what we can at present fathom. This stance amounts to reifying whatever the status quo is, not because it serves us well (it rarely does as we are now seeing all around us), but because the absence of fully fleshed out alternative programs is used to smear those who would like to take that step. wspob used to demand his interlocutors scale this absurd hurdle as well.

H, K and I have had innumerable such exchanges over the years here, and the popularity of his comments as measured by up/downvotes does not bode well for our collective willingness to live down the racist and unjust systems that still surround us, smother many.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  9watts

, Hello, Kitty consistently refuses to allow the possibility that we could imagine (and trust us to bring about) a different approach…

I allowed for the possibility I suffer from a lack of imagination, and I would be delighted if someone proves me wrong. But merely asserting that an alternative “must exist” (even if it is unfathomable at present) is not the same as actually finding a solution that works given where we are now.

We’ve got a lot of smart, motivated people working on developing an alternative model, and if there’s a way, they’ll find it. I am quite sure that my skepticism is not holding them back.

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“We’ve got a lot of smart, motivated people working on developing an alternative model, and if there’s a way, they’ll find it. I am quite sure that my skepticism is not holding them back”

That is correct. Smart people have thought of and articulated alternative models (alternatives to the carceral system, alternatives to heavily armed police, etc.). However here – in the bikeportland comments – your familiar (and popular) stance that the untried, exploratory doesn’t stand a chance against what we already know serves to discourage discussion of those as yet undeveloped alternatives. I am interested in exploring those ideas here with other smart open-minded people.

Toby Keith
Toby Keith
2 years ago
Reply to  9watts

You seem really hung up on the voting thing. Is BikePortland a popularity contest for you?

was carless
was carless
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

We need traffic enforcement, obviously. However, how often are Portland traffic police shot or have violent confrontations?
Perhaps we need a traffic safety department.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago

We live in one of the most heavily armed countries in the world, full of half-crazy armed men looking for a fight. Unless we move to 100% automated enforcement, I don’t see how we get away from armed police handing out traffic tickets. You’d be crazy to pull over these sociopaths without a weapon at the ready. The people who speed through school zones are much more likely to be unhinged.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

A gun isn’t a defensive weapon – pointing it at someone else isn’t going to stop their bullet from hitting you. You may hope to deter them from pulling out their gun, but hope isn’t much of a shield. I have no doubt that as soon as someone figures out how to fully protect a human from all bullets, weapons that get past such shielding will already be commonplace. I’d rather have a society that doesn’t require either party to be armed to resolve a dispute.

Dan
Dan
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Why hand them anything? Pull them over, use a loudspeaker to tell them that a ticket will be mailed to the address associated with the license plates. Don’t allow registration to be renewed if unpaid tickets exist.

Like someone suggested up thread, tie it to the car rather than the driver. The owner of the car pays and can go after the driver themselves if someone else was driving.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan

How does that work in cases of suspected DUI, or dangerous driving (excess speeding, etc)?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

I wonder, could we require that all cars must have a boot or lock installed that could be triggered by the police? A bit like the pollution control mechanisms and inspections, if you want to drive, you must have these devices?

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago

Believe it or not I am with JM on this. One thing I learned while I was on the Grand Jury was that many people do not know, or have no incentive to make good decisions. And that’s why they are being charged. Now, I personally think this is due to broken families and poverty, but that is just a theory.

It’s easy to make a good decision when your needs are met. You are in a healthy place with fewer stressors.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

You’ve got yourself a falsifiable theory. Do people from broken families get more traffic tickets than similarly situated people from intact families?

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

My theory is that when people come from a hierarchical system that benefits them, they are more likely to obey the rules of the hierarchy. If the hierarchy does not serve you well, why play the game? I’m not talking just traffic infractions, I’m talking unwritten social contracts.

What incentive does a black man have to play nice in a predominantly white social structure that he feels persecutes him?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 years ago

I agree. It extends to social institutions as well. I work with other activists and organizations to manipulate government into making decisions that help the communities I work with, which requires patience and the ability to play well with others. I continue to do it because I’ve seen it work quite successfully. But of course I meet lots of other people without the patience who are only interested in themselves, who easily get frustrated and tend to vent and rant against nearly everyone else.

David Binnig
2 years ago

I share Kitty’s skepticism that a stronger social fabric would sufficiently reduce traffic violations, and would in any case doubt whether the city of Portland has meaningful power to strengthen our social fabric—but very much agree with the rest, and in particular that we can find ways to shift a lot of enforcement to a model that doesn’t involve fraught interactions with men with guns.

mark
mark
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

The social issues are selfishness and lack of respect for fellow humans. Not sure how to fix that.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

Not ostracizing is a good start.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

The existence of cars.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

If one feels persecuted by or not part of their community, they are probably less likely to adhere to community standards.

After a certain point, I can imagine a downtrodden person thing “why the heck should I even try?”

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 years ago

Be careful dismissing “rally cries” – the US has a long history of electing politicians (including presidents) on rally cries alone.

citylover99
citylover99
2 years ago

The answer to non-officer traffic law enforcement is street design: Speed tables, speed feedback signs, street width, bumpouts, pedestrian refuges… all which serve to slow traffic. Slow traffic = fewer deaths. Let’s say it again: design is the answer.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  citylover99

Portland has over 2000 miles of streets. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

cmh89
cmh89
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

The only way to reduce traffic violence is to build roads that make it impossible to hurt other people.

Even if PPB bothered to enforce traffic laws, they can’t be everywhere all at once. Road design is how you keep people safe.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  cmh89

I agree with this, but it will take decades to rebuild out roads, and we need to do something about dangerous driving in the interim.

cmh89
cmh89
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

It only takes decades when your sole focus is to make sure motorist can continue to speed down the road. If your main goal is slowing and calming traffic, all it takes is some jersey barriers and traffic diverters strategically places and you’ve taken a major step.

The main cost to road safety is accommodating motorist, not actually making the streets safe.

citylover99
citylover99
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

There’s a lot of temporary and incremental work that can be done to improve safety and slow traffic. Trust me, I worked as a bike advocate in a place where the answer was always “no” to bike lanes “because the plow can’t fit through” – there’s a huge opportunity to be creative that doesn’t require pavement. Even speed feedback signs work in school zones in particular. People don’t usually WANT to speed in those places, they just don’t realize that they are speeding. Showing them they are speeding helps them drive more slowly, and learn what it feels like to drive at the safe speed.

Momo
Momo
2 years ago

Why don’t we just move traffic enforcement into PBOT using unarmed non-police, the same way we do parking enforcement? That way dangerous speeding or drunk driving would be enforced, but the people doing the enforcement would not carry guns, would not use it as an excuse to search cars for drugs or try to catch people for other things, and could be trained to avoid profiling and really only focus on dangerous driving. We could also do things like offer education and warnings rather than citations for minor or first-time infractions, and offer alternatives to paying an expensive citation for people who can’t afford it.

There’s no level of good street design that can deal with out of control drunk drivers or people who choose to drive completely recklessly. Without some level of enforcement, Vision Zero is impossible to achieve. So I don’t think we can afford to give up on enforcement altogether, but we do need to completely rethink the way it’s done.

Doug Hecker
Doug Hecker
2 years ago
Reply to  Momo

PBOT can barely function doing whatever it is they aim to do. It certainly isn’t good to add enforcement to their belt when they are incapable of slowing down the number of deaths. The sad but true part of this is that I can’t get a speed camera van moved two blocks over due to some ineptitude from down town. I truly hope they can regroup during the upcoming lean times and do something that amount to effectiveness.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Momo

Would you be willing to pull someone over at 11pm on a Friday for suspected drunk driving/speeding, go up to their window, and tell them to get out of the car because they are under arrest, without the option to defend yourself if it turns violent? I wouldn’t take that job for a million dollars.

Oh, by the way, there are 120 firearms for every 100 citizens in the United States. Have fun.

Dave B
Dave B
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

I think part of the answer might be that not all citations need to involve direct personal contact. If a hypothetical PBOT traffic agent clocks you speeding, there’s no need for them to get you out of the car in order to issue a ticket.

(They do need a way to get a clear picture of the driver, unless we change [state?] law so that tickets follow the owner rather than the driver.)

Intoxicated driving is harder to deal with, although the present reality is that an intoxicated driver who isn’t doing anything that breaks other traffic laws often won’t be pulled over to begin with.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave B

I’m 1000% for traffic cameras all over the city, with the law changed so that the owner of the car has to prove that someone else was driving it, and provide their contact information to get out of the ticket. But I don’t see how we stop drunk driving without traffic stops.

Brandon
Brandon
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

I think his point was that drunk drivers are often pulled over for other infractions and then given a field sobriety test based on odors or slurred speech. This system tends to target members of the community based on socio-economic factors and not necessarily the likelihood of them being intoxicated. Many places in the world have effectively used sobriety checkpoints to address drunk driving, maybe 1 armed police officer and several unarmed “traffic safety officers” at a checkpoint? I would also submit that a safe, reliable, and effective public transit system has the potential to limit the incentive to drive drunk.

mark
mark
2 years ago
Reply to  Brandon

I fully support field sobriety checkpoints, but the difficulty is the same as with automated enforcement cameras, pushback from entitled drivers about the man/big brother violating their “right” to drive.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

Or, more accurately, “entitled” citizens not wanting the government tracking their movement. Which, given our national conversation about police abuse, should be considered a reasonable concern.

Momo
Momo
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

There are a ton of jobs people have all over the country that could result in personal harm but the people are not armed. People still do those jobs, because they’re paid extra for the risk. A person giving someone a parking ticket could be attacked at any moment. They are all trained in self-defense. We really need to stop equating self defense with carrying a gun.

X
X
2 years ago
Reply to  Momo

I have one of those jobs. I get to balance objective hazards by making choices that feel safe to me and by avoiding conflicts. In fairness to police, current policy and training requires them to assert authority and (rarely) back down.

X
X
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Good point. We’d like to make drunk/drugged driving instantly enforceable but our current system can’t do it. What if we pull the licensing of any vehicle that is observed to exceed the speed limit by over 20 mph, fails at lane holding, or commits multiple infractions within one hour. Notice is served by light signals on the street and takes effect with delivery of a registered letter, burden of proof on the owner. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

If a driver is so impaired and so persistent as to require personal intervention the penalty should be severe.

Tom
Tom
2 years ago

Traffic enforcement can be done without police. That model is over a hundred years old and ignores all the technology that has been developed since.

There are multiple options. Safety technicians with some basic training can gather a combination of observational data, camera data, and other data such as speed detection to generate citations without needing to stop the driver. The traffic stop is what requires the police. No traffic stop involved, then no police needed. The traffic stop is no longer needed with the technology we have now. This would drastically lower costs of generating citations and create a safer situation for everyone.

Doug
Doug
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

And who is reviewing the photos? People are always involved.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Someone with training to not act in a biased way.

mark
mark
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure officers already undergo some sort of training, but as we’ve seen, it’s not totally effective. The best solution would send a citation to the registered vehicle owner. If they assert that they were not driving, they can surely tell us who was using their vehicle.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

That sounds reasonable, but you have to suspect that unless the outcome of tickets is exactly the proportion of the population by race, someone will say it is biased.

JBone
JBone
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

What about the unintended and as of yet unmentioned consequential social problem created by “snitching”? I see a lot of potential issues asking citizens to turn in fellow citizens.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 years ago
Reply to  JBone

Especially if it was their own children or spouse who “borrowed” the car and were caught speeding or impaired.

mark
mark
2 years ago
Reply to  JBone

If they don’t want to snitch, they can either take the citation themselves, or refuse to loan out the car in the first place.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  mark

This proposal is not obviously legal, but leaving that aside for the moment, I’m not comfortable with the government telling me that if I don’t provide testimony in a case, they will charge me instead of the guilty party. There could be some pretty serious consequences if that practice became established.

But if there are any lawyers out there, would this even be legal?

Jon
Jon
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

It would be a big help if laws were changed so that the registered owner of the vehicle was responsible for vehicle infractions unless it was stolen. I’ve seen stories of drivers wearing masks or other face coverings that made ID difficult and got them out of a ticket. It seems like if you let an irresponsible driver borrow your car you should be responsible for their actions because it is a potentially deadly device. If you don’t want it on your record you can give the authorities the ID of the real driver. I believe this is how parking infractions are handled. The authorities don’t have to ID the person that parked a car illegally, the owner of the car is responsible no matter what.

qqq
qqq
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon

Yes. Think of the situation with property ownership. The property owner is the liable party for all kinds of things. A landlord is liable for things his tenants do, even if he or she doesn’t know that they’re doing them.

JBone
JBone
2 years ago
Reply to  qqq

See above comment re:snitching

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

What do we do about drunk driving? What happens when I call in a suspected drunk driver?

Momo
Momo
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I really don’t believe that only police should be able to do traffic stops. Can’t people be trained in self-defense techniques without using a gun? They could even wear bullet-proof vests if they’re worried the driver has a gun. We have security guards without guns all over the place in malls and whatnot. Why the insistence that traffic stops require guns?

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Momo

Protecting a Pottery Barn and pulling people over, extracting them from their vehicles, and then arresting them for DUI have very different risks, for obvious reasons.

Gary B
Gary B
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Do they? Your entire argument seems to come down to 2 things: drivers may have a gun, and confrontation may trigger a violent response. Those same risks are present for a security guard, a park ranger, or a parking enforcer. I’d argue the same approach can be used for our hypothetical traffic enforcement personnel–minimize both risks. The traffic enforcement personnel have neither a gun nor the ability to execute an arrest. Now they aren’t a risk of shooting or arresting your hypothetical unhinged, murderous driver. So why would your gun-toting lunatic kill the traffic enforcer? More importantly, a BIPOC driver hopefully wouldn’t fear (justifiably) for their life during the encounter.

You’ve also focused in on drunk drivers as an extreme danger to the traffic enforcer. I’m not sure that any data backs up that assertion, but nonetheless I recognize the inability to arrest would be a challenge for immediately getting the driver off the road. I could imagine more fanciful solutions like the traffice enforcer can disable the car and call them a cab, with a citation to appear in court for the charges, removing the perceived imminent risk to the dirver to prevent escalation. But even a more attainable solution like the ability to call in an actual police officer (who’d probably still exist, hopefully in drastically reduced numbbrs and presence) would seem to address your concern.

Momo
Momo
2 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

I had the same thought. Is a drunk driver really much of a danger? Drunk people have notoriously poor hand-eye coordination and reaction times.

Shawn
Shawn
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I agree with this comment. I got a speeding ticket in Europe last year. The enforcement was completely automated, I never saw any cameras or sensors, and I never knew I was speeding until I got the ticket by mail a few weeks later. In fact, I have no idea if it was me or my wife who was actually speeding. However, when I got my rental car I had to agree that I would be responsible for all fines incurred through operation of the vehicle, regardless of who was driving. The fine was a good incentive to drive more carefully in the future.

I see no reason why anyone registering a vehicle shouldn’t have to agree to the same thing, and adopt the financial risk of lending the vehicle to someone who gets caught speeding. Complete automation of this type is inherently unbiased and does not involve any police or traffic stops. It generates revenue and improves traffic safety with no risks of violence or bias.

Jon
Jon
2 years ago

Automated enforcement, as long as it is placed equally in “white” and “poc” areas, should be equitable. Best yet it is easily audit-able for racial profiling. As long as everyone that is speeding or running red lights is getting a ticket it should be fair.

Dave
Dave
2 years ago

No, no, no. People become something less than people when they drive. Enforcement is a necessity.

Bike Guy
Bike Guy
2 years ago

Let’s go ask Fallon Smart if even less traffic law enforcement is a good idea.

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Bike Guy

unhelpful. Her death had nothing to do with enforcement.

Belka
Belka
2 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Her death had nothing to do with enforcement.

It most certainly did. Noorah had been pulled over earlier for driving with a suspended license, and received merely a citation.

Part of Portland law enforcement culture is that there are no real consequences for driving with a suspended or revoked license.

It’s a “non-violent” offense, after all.

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Belka

You are comparing a hypothetical situation in which law enforcement works perfectly with the hypothetical situation some of us are exploring where the police force has its military style weaponry and impunity stripped away. Other countries have experience with versions of both of these, from which we might learn a thing or two, but in the meantime we have neither, just an out-of-control racist police force and mediocre enforcement of the laws that are on the books.

mark
mark
2 years ago
Reply to  Belka

If a driver is stopped for driving without a valid license or insurance, the car should be towed on the spot, no excuse to let the driver carry on illegally.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago
Reply to  Bike Guy

I’m not sure if enforcement could have prevented that death, but better infrastructure would have. Solid median refuges would have prevented him from speeding in the turn lane. That case I’d actually a great example of how our enforcement and justice system is broken.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

An Arab national friend long ago explained to me that an American traffic fine was (to him) simply an opportunity to bribe the police and courts to allow him to drive as fast and irresponsibly as he wants to, especially as the fines were often the same each time. As long as jail wasn’t required (and it often isn’t in the US for non-violent rich offenders), he would continue breaking the law. However, in his own country, they generally cut off the hand of repeat offenders, which would certainly deter him.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Let me assure you that whatever regime is in place to ensure traffic sanity in Arab countries (at least the ones I’ve spent time in), it is not a deterrent to anyone driving. No one is cutting the hands off people for speeding

Bike Guy
Bike Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Works for me.

Hotrodder
Hotrodder
2 years ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Watch this. I guess if you’re gonna lose a hand you might as well make sure the punishment fits the crime….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L34tjBMLpy4

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Bike Guy

Perhaps better immigration policy would have been more helpful.

Chris I
Chris I
2 years ago

But how will PSU fill up its grad school programs?

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Lower the costs 🙂

rick
rick
2 years ago

So who will arrest Smokey and the Bandit?

X
X
2 years ago

Yes to photo enforcement! If a person fights a ticket, subpoena their phone records, establish where they were at the time, and figure out their times from A to B for the last three months. Either they become the Lord of Strava or else they get tagged for multiple new infractions.

We already require financial responsibility for car owners by means of insurance. A person who owns and maintains a car for their personal use should not put it in the hands of a dangerous driver. Owner responsibility for traffic offenses is a no-brainer. There are people who go to school to figure how to make this fit within the Constitution.

It’s possible that a person will not realize that their car has been stolen (this is very Portland) so perhaps a report will not have been filed when an infraction occurs. Maybe people will need theft insurance, or an aftermarket ignition lockout device. If you have an older import car there should already be a locking bar on the steering wheel, or some vital part in your pocket, or perhaps you are sleeping in it? If none of the above it could be gone.

MaddHatter
MaddHatter
2 years ago
Reply to  X

Subpoenaing cell phone records over a time span that has nothing to do with a crime is a breathtaking government intrusion completely out of proportion to the wrongdoing. (From a technical standpoint, it wouldn’t help you much anyway. And let’s not even get into due process, disparate impact and equal protection, or probable cause.) It is not far from just installing cameras everywhere to constantly track people, which others here seem frighteningly willing to do.

It’s also alarming to see so many are willing to assign responsibility for a violation to someone who didn’t commit it. Should you have to pay damages when someone borrowing your bike crashes into a window? Is Hertz guilty if someone drunkenly drives one of their rental cars?

Especially now, when so many examples are coming to the fore of how the government (police, notably) is not trustworthy and can cause harm, both intentionally and not — THIS is when you want to give up your protections from government, hand over your rights, and just trust that it’ll all work out okay??

Jon
Jon
2 years ago
Reply to  MaddHatter

When you rent a car you sign documents where you agree to pay any traffic fines and are responsible for your actions in the vehicle. If you loan your car to someone you might want to have them sign a similar agreement if you don’t trust them to operate your car in a responsible manner. The same goes for your bicycle. When driving and walking in public there are no laws that restrict filming your actions and movement. The 3rd amendment in the constitution protects the privacy of you HOME not in public spaces which is why there are millions of security cameras all over the place. When you are driving around or biking around on public streets you should expect to be caught on video. When you are in your home you should not. If you want to drive however you want with no rules then buy the land and build your own roads where you can keep them camera free.

Gary B
Gary B
2 years ago
Reply to  MaddHatter

On your second paragraph: Maybe. We currently assign civil liability to an employer for the driving negligence of their employees while on the job. The legal theory being the employer is in a better position to compensate the victim and to prevent the negligence from happening (e.g. train their employees better). The same can be said of Hertz in your hypothetical. They have the ability to install breathalyzers in their cars. If they were liable, perhaps they would. Why not the same for letting someone borrow your car? Go for it, but if they break a law, you’re ultimately responsible. You can assign the infraction to the actual driver, or you can accept it. I know I’d take extra precautions before lendiung my car under that scenario.

By the way, I’ve earned a friend a speeding citation while driving his car in Germany. He identified me as the driver shown in the automated photo, but had he not he would’ve had points on his license for my infraction. Society didn’t collapse.

X
X
2 years ago
Reply to  MaddHatter

As many have noted, there’s no -right- to drive. What constitutional convention would endorse killing 40,000 people a year just to get around? That’s the toll associated with poorly regulated personal transportation. Also, you can’t make untrustworthy police part of your argument against reducing the scope and powers of policing.

If a person defies a civil regulation against hazardous driving, or does some other thing that creates a similar degree of havoc, loss of privacy is a natural consequence. Their rights end at the point where damage to another person begins.

9watts
2 years ago

“Defund takes the core idea of abolition and says, “If we were to start over, what would we decide police should be doing versus not be doing?” Now, I’m already picking a middle position between the notion that we simply wipe out police altogether, which is one abolitionist version of it. But defund, as it is being articulated in places like Minneapolis, is really a conversation of: We’re going to start over, and we’re going to start over by putting together a list, from everything from nuisance calls to wellness checks to claims of violent crime, and we’re going to decide what the police ought to be doing. And once we see what’s left over, then that’s the percentage of the budget that the police, a new version of the police, will keep. The rest will go to other public services.

We can use violence interrupters, who are public health workers trained in the community, by the community, for the community, to in fact deal with conflict resolution. This is how it works in nearly every other country where police have not been militarized and given unlimited resources and power to police their own citizens as if they were soldiers in occupied territory. People resolve conflicts inside of healthy, functioning communities. So people in this country need the same training and resources to be able to do similar things. That’s what defund is about.”

from here: https://www.democracynow.org/2020/6/10/khalil_gibran_muhammad_history_us_policing

Wanderer
Wanderer
2 years ago

There are lots of encounters between citizens and public authorities where a gun is not typically required. Enforcement against building code violations, to take one of many examples. We don’t need a heavily armed centurion every time somebody drives unsafely. And other developed countries aren’t bristling with privately owned arms—we need to get there.