They’re Watching Your Madness

On my road trip down to Charleston I saw it again — the sign that always catches my eye when driving the 495/Capital Beltway around DC — “Aggressive Driver Imaging in Use.”

What the heck does that mean, anyway? It brings to mind hidden nanocameras everywhere zooming in on your body language while some Tim Roth “Lie To Me”-type facial recognition program decides if you’re just too upset to drive.

I had Soteria write this down on a note at the shop so I would remember to look it up when I got here. So hat does the sign mean? The Washington Post’s Answer Man actually did a fairy decent article on the experiment. From what I gather, the cameras are mounted on police vehicles you might see on the side of the highway along these stretches.

What these cameras do, if you are caught being an “aggressive driver” (using these criteria), is take a picture of your license plate. The plate is run through a computer, and the registration holder is sent a letter explaining that the vehicle was being operated in an unsafe manner. You could be fined, and you could have points taken off on your license.

I get it. I think it’s a good idea. Some of these drivers being jerks are putting all of us at risk by trying to get home five minutes early.

However, I do have one beef with the criteria — passing a car on the right is used as one of the checkpoints for aggressive driving. Dude…have you been on a road trip in the last ten years? Drivers in America seem to pick a lane arbitrarily and stay there until the spirit moves them. Yes, if I’m behind some moron going 10-miles-under in the far left lane who won’t move over after being flashed, I’m going to pass him. I’m probably going to have a dirty look on my face. I may even be a little pissed off…perhaps just shy of aggressive. But the guy who needs to get the ticket is THE JERK WHO WON’T MOVE OVER. Dear Mr. Jerk: please do us all a favor and get back in the right lane.

But that’s another rant, for another time. In the meantime, drive safely and have a great summer.