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Drones: Coming Soon To the New Jersey Turnpike? 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
redletterdave writes "The FAA predicts 30,000 drones will patrol the US skies by 2020, but New Jersey drivers could see these unmanned aerial vehicles hovering above the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway much sooner than that. New Jersey lawmakers from both Republican and Democratic parties have introduced a number of bills to tackle the drones issue before the federal government starts issuing the first domestic drone permits in September 2015."
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Drones: Coming Soon To the New Jersey Turnpike?

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  • Risk vs. Reward? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:08PM (#43726973) Journal

    How often do these things fall out of the sky, and does the added revenue offset the lives lost when they do?

    Just saying.

    I tend to think that drones should be used only in unusual circumstances, where unusual is translated as "high reward and low risk." Locating a lost hiker in a national park qualifies. Raising traffic fine revenue does not.

  • by ArcadeNut (85398) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:11PM (#43727003) Homepage

    In addition to that, what is it going to do with an already over stressed Air Traffic Control system?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:18PM (#43727047)

    you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

    I submit that if people are regularly going 75 in 55 zones and there are not massive pileups every week then the speed limit is set too low. Why would they do that?

  • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:20PM (#43727073)

    And yet people aren't dying at an alarming rate on the turnpike or any other interstate highway, the roads and cars are built to handle at much higher speeds than are posted in the U.S. Hell, 20 years ago cars sucked compared to today but I was able to drive a fairly normal sedan at 100mph on the autobahn without incident. What we really need to do to improve safety isn't to crack down on speeding, it's crack down on distracted driving, a week doesn't go buy that some idiot on a cellphone or putting on their makeup doesn't come within second of crashing into me (defensive driving and ABS for the win).

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:30PM (#43727161)

    you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

    Of course it is about revenue. Governments need revenue to operate. A tax on speeders seems like a good way to do it.

    I submit that if people are regularly going 75 in 55 zones and there are not massive pileups every week then the speed limit is set too low. Why would they do that?

    Because if they raise the limit to 75, people will drive 85. Americans have been conditioned to believe that the "real" speed limit is at least 10 mph over the posted limit.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:54PM (#43727325)

    you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

    Of course it is about revenue. Governments need revenue to operate. A tax on speeders seems like a good way to do it.

    What exactly does operate means? Is it by chance "spend a imperial fuckton of money on drones to catch a few drivers that will quickly learn to adapt?" followed by "raise taxes to pay back the wasted fuckton"?

  • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @09:01PM (#43727701) Journal

    As far as I'm concerned, the law should simply say, "You may not travel at a speed that is unsafe for the current road conditions." Anything demanding strict conformance to a posted number (rather than driving at a speed that feels safe) is just asking for people to ignore the law...

    This always sounds like a good idea. Here's the problem, though: Who decides that the speed was unsafe?

    Obviously, you wouldn't be driving at an unsafe speed. So you're cruising down that rain-slicked highway at 85 MPH and everything is fine until some other idiot who doesn't believe 85 MPH is a safe speed shows up in front you doing 50. As you slam into the back of him, you think, "This isn't my fault! It's that idiot driving 50 MPH! I was perfectly safe until he showed up!"

    Yes, in an ideal world, we would all drive at a safe speed and be respectful of each other. But the reality is that you have different people with different driving abilities and different cars with different capabilities and the whole idea that everybody on the freeway can be trusted to "do the right thing" is completely absurd. That's why you need to have an arbitrary number.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @09:31PM (#43727937) Homepage Journal

    You are too late with your helpful suggestion. Obamacare is a tax on everyone who lives. Doesn't matter if *you* do not need insurance. Big Brother knows best.

    We all pay into fire services so that when someone else's house is burning, it gets put out, because burning houses are toxic and because they might light our house on fire. We pay into society because if society burns down we all fail.

    Whether Obamacare is a good implementation is another question, I personally think the answer is no. Whether national health is a good idea, however... if you don't think so, you need to come down off your ivory tower and take a look at what is going on in this country. Unless you really are of the mindset that we should simply let the unproductive die, in which case I hope you die of ass cancer.

  • by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @10:56PM (#43728455)
    Is riding on the autobahn in heavy, heavy traffic. 5 lanes, no speed limits. The left lane was doing 70kph, second left 80, 90, 100 and the right lane was 'as fast as you want'. If someone in the right lane saw somebody bearing down on them, they switched one lane to the left and let them past. But you hardly saw anyone driving above 120, and I didn't see a single soul above 130. The car doing 130 was a brand new Porsche on a flat straight stretch of road ... a perfectly safe speed for such a car.

    All lanes moved smoothly, if you needed to change lanes .. just flip on the indicator and the next person let you in. Nobody cutting people off, driving aggressively or getting frustrated. Everyone was driving very sensibly and patiently, with 60% of the people driving slower than what the marked speed limits would say if you were in Australia.

    If you can drive however fast you want .. you make a conscious decision on how fast you want to drive. Give someone a limit and they react to that limit. Either by driving right on it, exceeding it or being aggressive toward others driving in their own way in relation to the limit.

    Speed limits are a mechanism of control. They're designed to fill your head with ideas that you otherwise wouldn't have were you thinking without limits. The limits don't limit the speed of the car, they impact the mind of the driver. The more troubled the mind of the driver, the greater the impact of the limit. Roads are unsafe because of the impact of speed limits on drivers, not because of drivers exceeding speed limits.

    Take the red pill.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @11:37PM (#43728609)
    Here's the entire list of services provided by speed traps:
    • 0: Revenue generation

    I triple checked but I can't find "safety" anywhere in that list.

  • by mrvan (973822) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @02:59AM (#43729375)

    Interesting wiki link, thanks!

    If you compare the US with mostly "developing" nations, you are right, and I would guess that a lot of them are caused by bad roads, bad cars, and really bad driving, the latter presumably caused by easy to get licenses and bad policing.

    If you compare the US to some OECD countries, the picture is different:

    Country / deaths per 100k vehicles / deaths per 1B miles
    USA / 15 / 8.5
    Germany / 7.2 / 7.2
    Netherlands / 7 / 5.6
    Switzerland / 7 / 5.6
    Sweden / 7 / 5.1
    Belgium / 17 / 10.8
    Italy / 12 / ?
    Poland / 18 / 23.5
    Serbia / 43 / ?
    Egypt / 188 / ?
    India / 315 /
    Nigeria / 1042 / ?

    So, the US has twice the per-vehicle death rate of countries like the Netherlands (really crowded), Germany (really fast driving), Switzerland (mountain roads and inclement weather) and Sweden (low population density). The per-mile deaths are higher (but not so much higher) than germany, and still a lot higher than the smaller countries. Even southern European countries like Italy but also Spain and France (both around 10) have less deaths/vehicle, even though people have "interesting" driving habits there. Unlisted countries like Sweden, the UK, denmark etc. are mostly similar to the Netherlands / Germany. Belgium is a weird outlier, as they are quite similar to the Netherlands in a lot of respects but have a much higher death rate.

    Eastern (central) european countries like Poland but especially Serbia are a lot worse, and it seems to loosely correspond with economic development. If you look at countries like Egypt or India it becomes pretty bad, and a lot of African countries have >1000 deaths per 100k vehicles, e.g. a >1% annual death rate for vehicle owners. (That means that if you drive for 30 years, there is a chance of a fatal accident of around 25%... yikes!)

    From the list above, it seems that there is a rough predictability of the danger of traffic based on national income and maybe population density, but the US is certainly on the "wrong end" of the prediction, comparable to Germany or Sweden in terms of wealth and population density, but with much higher death rates.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:33AM (#43730447)

    Here's the entire list of services provided by speed traps:

    • 0: Revenue generation

    I triple checked but I can't find "safety" anywhere in that list.

    Nonsense. They help to safely ensconce our public servants in their jobs.

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