Police Pose as Panhandlers to Scare Drivers

Blog, Regulation, Steve Lafleur

Once upon a time, you’d have only seen this sort of headline in the National Inquirer, or the Onion. Unfortunately, this is now actually happening in Canada. Officers in some cities are now dressing in rags and holding signs informing drivers that they will receive tickets for texting and driving. The rational is that it’s harder to catch people texting and driving than those talking on the phone and driving. Therefore police need to sneak up and catch people. Of course, this begs an obvious question: if some people are so good at texting from their cars that no one can tell they are doing it without walking up to their car and peeking inside, are they really posing a significant threat to other drivers? And if so, are they being any more dangerous than the guy eating the Big Mac while driving a standard, or the lady fiddling with her iPod? It seems doubtful. This type of gotcha policing does little to build trust between police and citizens, and reinforces the notion that traffic policing has become more about revenue generation than public safety.

Read more at the National Post.