Sir: This afternoon I was driving through a residential area, and I passed a sign that I thought was really quite clever. It said “speed limit 25,” and then below that, “your speed,” with—and this is the really clever part—an electronic display showing exactly how fast I was going.
That was extremely useful information. I had no idea I was driving at 68 miles per hour past the orphanage and the home for retired invalids, and of course I slowed down immediately.
At once I began to think how useful it would be if those signs were everywhere, so that I could always know how fast I was driving. Think how convenient that would be! But of course it would involve considerable expense, perhaps more than our already stretched highway budget could accommodate.
And then, quite suddenly, I was hit by an inspiration. What if, instead of signs along the road, the display were inside the car itself? Then I could always know how fast I was driving, with no need to rely on the thoroughness of the municipal sign-posting authorities. What if every motor vehicle on the road were equipped with some sort of device that would constantly display the exact speed of that vehicle? Law enforcement would be rendered almost redundant; for I am convinced, as every charitable soul must be, that “speeding” is largely a crime of ignorance.
If I were mechanically or electronically inclined, I should at once set out to design and patent such a device, and then market it under a catchy name—“Speed-O-Measurer” or something like that—confident that I should soon become wealthy on the revenues of so obviously useful an invention. However, as a sincere lover of humanity who is also all thumbs (I mean that literally; it is a rare medical condition having something to do with that DNA stuff), I have decided to publish this idea for the benefit of the whole world, hoping that the automotive companies will take notice.
Perhaps I shall live to see the day when it is no longer necessary for municipalities to post signs of the sort I have described, because every vehicle on the road will be able to measure its own speed. Or even if it is not technically feasible now, perhaps my letter will plant an intellectual seed that will ripen in the age of my children’s children. It is never too late for a good idea. —Sincerely, Landelin Melchor, Spring Hill.