Vehicle: Traffic Jam
Class Action Traffic Jam   (+5, -7)  [vote for, against]
Sue those people you are rubbernecking at

Yet another way to single out bad drivers.

When a traffic jam is caused by an accident where the cause of which can clearly be determined to be due to a wreckless or extremely incompetant driver. Everyone who is affected by this slowdown can sue the driver for damages. This process would require something like the Car-ma device to a) establish a wreckless driver and b) automatically "register" all passing cars as being part of the suit.

Damages can range from lost wages (late for work), to all kinds of intangible stuff like "I missed my job interview and therefore lost the job.". Maybe set up some sort of automatic system where you can just get a nominal "default" settlement check in the mail, but have the option to go for more if your losses are substantial.


1) After a few multi-million dollar lawsuits make the front pages, drivers will tend to be more careful

2) People will now be excited about getting caught in traffic. It will be like entering a little lottery!!

Of course auto insurance will go through the roof, unless policies start excluding these types of losses.
-- blahginger, Jun 30 2000

Previous HalfBakery Idea [blahginger, Jun 30 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

But isn't it true that wreckless drivers are infrequently reckless, and vice versa? ;)
-- beauxeault, Jun 30 2000

Its hard to prove that a driver was wreckless or something else, the socalled wreckless driver would deny the fact and say he lost control. Not to mention the people that could get money out of it, they would make up things and make every accident look like a case of wreckless driving. No.. ain't gonna work ;)
-- enveekaa, Jul 20 2000

Sure it is not going to work in every case, but I bet there are a good percentage of accidents where there are witnesses who can identify wrecklessness when they see it (speeding, running a red light, irregular lane changing). That in conjuction with the "Car-ma" readings should be able to override any wreckless drivers excuse of "I lost control".

As with any sort of liability, you are never going to be able to be 100% accurate (sometimes the bad guys do win) ...and in a lot of cases there will not be enough evidence to enact a class action lawsuit, but there certainly must be enough cases where there is no question to make this a worthwhile process.

As for people making things up to make something look wreckless, I am not sure that complete strangers sharing a road are going to be able to get thier stories straight enought to convince a judge (let alone the fact that people will be perjuring themselves for a few bucks).

The awards to each individual driver will be minimal ($25 - $50), to the "guilty" driver however those awards will add up. The idea is to punish the "bad" driver more than it is to "reward" the inconvenienced.
-- blahginger, Jul 20 2000

Hmm you've got a point there. It will work in some cases..
-- enveekaa, Jul 21 2000

And for every genuine claimant to being held up, there will be 100 that are simply saying they were to claim money!! I can imagine the radio reporting a traffic jam due to an accident, and heaps of people flocking there just so they can claim they were held up, therefore adding to the jam...
-- Alcin, Aug 29 2000

You can not just claim to have been held up. The 'Car-ma' device would automatically register you as you passed the accident. A sensor could be left in place long enough to pick up cars that pass after the wreck is cleaned up, but are still expiriencing the after effect of the hold up.
-- blahginger, Sep 15 2000

WARNING: this is what we Brits call the "American culture of Blame". Stories have reached these shores of a surfer who tried to sue someone for taking a wave which "was intended for me" and a man who brought action against an ice cream company because his cornet melted before he was able to eat it and it was clearly labelled "ice" cream. You idea makes a valid point about rubbernecking but please don't think too far along these lines or the lawyers will get fat and we will all be scared to leave our homes.
-- spider, Mar 13 2001

Spider's been reading The Sun again.

Surely this idea would not create a deterrent. Nobody THINKS they're driving dangerously. Dangerous drivers think they're in control. If they thought they were going to get in an accident, that would be deterrent enough.
-- mrthingy, Mar 13 2001

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