Tuesday 16 October 2012

Speed and opportunity cost — Tay Tian Yan

OCT 16 — If the authorities are determined to implement the Automated Enforcement System (AES), they should at least place signboards to warn motorists of the cameras.

“There is an AES camera 1km from here, please keep your speed not exceeding 90km/h.”

“There is an AES camera 500m from here, please follow the traffic light.”

If you are a normal motorist, you will know what to do when you see a signboard warning you of the AES camera. You will obediently slow down or stop your car when the traffic light turns red.

It is called the opportunity cost in Economics. If you know that you have to pay a non-voluntary price for your act, and when the price is high, you will restrain yourself from doing the act.

The problem is 14 AES cameras have been installed while the other 800 will also be gradually set up nationwide, but no one has seen any AES signboards, or known how the signboards look like so far.

The authorities have indeed revealed the locations of the AES cameras, but human brains are not computers. They cannot clearly remember the exact locations of all AES cameras.

Since there is no signboard and it is not sure whether there is any AES cameras installed along the road, many motorists will just choose to try their luck.

Once there is an opportunity to speed and run the red light with a possibility of not needing to pay the price, it would indirectly encourage such acts. It is the bad nature of human, as well as another side of the opportunity cost.

Many motorists are having similar mentality with those having extramarital affairs. They know that they should not do it, but risk everything once they see an opportunity.

Motorists control the accelerator at between 110km/h and 120km/h, and it is actually a gap of only one centimetre. As for those having extramarital affairs, it is also only a thin line of gap between morality and lust.

If the opportunity cost is low, the possibility of derailment will be high; if the opportunity cost is high, the possibility of derailment will then be low.

To maintain road safety, motorists should be warned of danger. With the supervision of the AES, they should not take any chances and think that they can escape from paying the price for violating traffic rules.

Compared to secretly taking photos of those violating traffic rules, issuing high-fine summonses and causing them to hate the AES but still driving dangerously, it is better to show the AES signboards clearly to remind motorists of obeying traffic rules, so that as time passes, the good habit of safe driving can be developed.

Similarly, to maintaining a marriage, one should tell his or her spouse that even though the outside world is tempting, I see only you and will always take care of you, so that you will not get an opportunity to sneak out.

It is better to always make clear mutual tolerance and trust than to write a statement of repentance, or sign divorce papers when it is too late to put things right. — MySinchew.com

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