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Speed Camera Lottery Proven to Actually Slow Drivers

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When shaping a child's behavior, every parent has to find the right balance between reward and punishment. Chastise every single indiscretion and you diminish the child's esteem. Compensate every act of good behavior and the child becomes more demanding. But somewhere in between over-indulgence and under-appreciative, a child can mature and enter the world a well-rounded individual with reasonable expectations.

However, it's a balance rarely seen once we reach adulthood. In fact, when was the last time you benefited from an award system -- particularly one that isn't structured so the reward is actually an absence of punishment? Health insurance, mortgages, state and federal laws, taxes, credit card payments, even your job. Buckle down, do the right thing, and your reward is you stay out debt and prison. Maybe.

So it would be a huge surprise to see -- of all organizations -- a motor vehicle bureau introduce a system that actually rewards good drivers. But Volkswagen presents compelling evidence that it would be in everyone's best interest.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen ran a contest to collect ideas that made environmental protection, safer driving, and increased public transportation more enjoyable. The winners -- assembled under the project dubbed The Fun Theory -- would see their concept into fruition. And this year's winner, Kevin Richardson's Speed Camera Lottery, was demoed in Stockholm, Sweden.

Here is a video demonstrating the concept.

For anyone driving over the speed limit, the traffic camera would work in its traditional fashion: photographic license plates and fining the drivers. However, law-abiding motorists driving under the limit would also have their license photographed but then entered into a lottery where they can randomly win a portion of the fine payments.

The three-day test of the camera warranted impressive results. Before it was erected, the average speed on the street was 32 kilometers per hour. But when the camera was put up -- despite the drivers being unaware it wouldn't issue fines or rewards -- traffic slowed to an average 25 kilometers per hour. That's a 22% decrease.

The New York Times reports that traffic designers have yet to approach Richardson to permanently install Speed Camera Lottery devices, which stands to reason. Anyone who's set foot in a DMV knows the organization doesn't have sympathy, logic, or sound management at the top of its to-do list.
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