Tuesday, 18 February 2014

speed-trap oder blitz-schnell

Thanks to Tom Tom and habitual caution, I have never been ticketed for exceeding the speed-limit. Navigation devices of course are good at plotting out established obstacles, as I catch myself sometimes accelerating unconsciously to keep up, and the traffic report on the radio is reliable snitch for temporary installations that the police have set up—while this practise is tolerated in the European Union, I've learned that in Switzerland, issuing such fore-warnings are illegal, sort of like the interstate black-market for dashboard radar-detectors in the States (I admit that I only know about such debates from watching the home-shopping network and have no idea if this is still the case, and I guess it shows my age and detachment, as if I were to entitle this post, 'Smile, you're on Candid-Camera,' whose descendents are nonetheless wildly popular too).

Speeders generally receive a citation with a grainy black and white photograph that memoralises the moment, Blitzers (Starenkasten) these devices are called because of the blinding flash they emit when triggered. I learned, however, that the traffic cameras in Germany are not the property of the municipalities that they guard but are rather rented to towns and villages by a company based near Cottbus who earn a commission, like asking to install a vending-machine in a high-traffic areas, complete with terms and an end-user agreement. I am astounded that the same racket has not blocked all such warnings for speed-cameras, as it is a synchronised slow-down by those in the wise.  The company that provides this service is not exactly in the business of public safety, as the firm dictates their placement in order to maximise profit. Thus, aberrations in the road could sometimes be created for the sake of the franchise rather than in response to some place that was truly accident prone, though with little potential as a speed-trap.