Trying to give people warm feelings about traffic tickets

I think it is safe to say most people don’t like receiving traffic or moving violation tickets. Could there be a way to help people feel better about receiving these tickets? Cambridge, Massachusetts is trying to improve the image of driving tickets:

But the city of Cambridge, Mass., is looking to cultivate a Zen-like demeanor among parking offenders with the New Age-themed tickets it’s handing out these days.

“It’s trying to debunk the idea that all parking tickets are a hostile action, because I don’t think they are,” Susan E. Clippinger, the city’s transportation chief, told the Boston Herald.

According to the Herald, the parking ticket makeover in Cambridge — home to Harvard and MIT — is part of public art project by the city’s artist-in-residence, Daniel Peltz. In addition to the 40,000 new parking tickets Cambridge printed, the city is incorporating mood-enhancing imagery in its approach to parking enforcement, as the Herald notes: “There are new street signs explaining traffic rules in offbeat ways; ‘10,000 Excuses,’ a mural of excuses given by ticketed drivers; and plush, stuffed ‘soft-boots’ to give the ultimate parking penalty a warmer, fuzzier feel.”

An interesting program. One thing that may work in their favor: changing up the signage and typical protocol might shake people out of their complacent driving behaviors.

What about trying another tact: framing the tickets as part of a larger campaign of public safety. Could drivers be placated a little if the tickets came with an explanation about how driving within/at the rules saved lives, injuries, and money (and tax dollars)? This would give the often solitary activity of driving a more communal focus: we need people to obey the traffic laws and regulations to help everyone get where they need to go safely. If you break the rules, it is not a “victimless crime.”

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