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What is the Swedish Speed Camera Lottery?

Speeding puts everyone on the road in danger. In a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,478 people in the United States were killed in speeding accidents in 2019. In order to protect everyone using the road, speed regulation and limits are placed by authorities. In Sweden, the government implemented an effective way to keep people within the speed limit. Here’s how;

The authorities in Stockholm, Sweden, started the speed camera lottery system. Whenever people drive within or below the speed limit, they are eligible to win the lottery that is funded by the fines paid by speeders.

What is Speeding?

Speeding is defined as the act or practice of driving beyond the speed limit set by authorities. It is a significant factor in several accidents that often result in injuries and death. Excessive speeding gives the driver little to no time to react to a possibly dangerous situation and avoid a crash. In most traffic fatalities, speeding is the number cause. An average of 25 people die in a day because of it. (Source: NSC Injury Facts)

How Does the Speed Camera Lottery Work?

Stockholm authorities devised a system rewarding good behavior. They experimented with punishing rule breakers and rewarding those who complied with the rules. If you drove within or under the speed limit, your name would be entered into a lottery in this particular system. The prize’s funding would come from the fines the rule-breakers would pay for going above the speed limit. The speed camera lottery was apparently the perfect solution for changing how people drove.

The idea came from Kevin Richardson, who shared this plan in Volkswagen’s The Fun Theory competition back in 2010. A year later, Stockholm put his theory into practice. They tested the process by simply utilizing the speed cameras already installed. A photo is snapped whenever a car passes by a specific crossing, and the speed is measured. If the car driver goes over the speed limit, they will be fined. Their fines would then go to a fund for a lottery prize for obedient drivers. Those who obeyed the speed limit set will participate in the said lottery and have the chance to win money. In the trial phase alone, 24,857 cars passed the camera, and the average speed limit of these cars went down from 32 km/h to 25 km/h. (Source: Medical Futurist)

Can This Reward System Also Be Applied in Lifestyle Changes?

The concept is simple, bringing the whole carrot on a stick idea to a whole new level. But will we see the same results by applying this toward choosing a healthy lifestyle?

Dr. Berci Meskó, the director of The Medical Futurist, contemplated on the notion. What if the local government used the same practice in influencing citizens to choose a better lifestyle by rewarding those who make better health choices and punishing those who are not. The discussion raised many concerns, like how some lifestyles may not be a matter of choice but of circumstance. Where will they draw the line?

At this point, the idea does seem appealing, especially for preventing severe illnesses that may require hospitalization. But instead of punishing those that are not able to comply, there should be a better way to address this and make the healthcare system more sustainable at the end of the day. (Source: Medical Futurist)

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