If you're driving fast through Melbourne along Florida's Space Coast this holiday season, you're taking a big chance. At thousands of dollars in prizes!

The city police are trying to spread some holiday cheer to reckless drivers, gambling-addiction-style:

By 1 p.m. Christmas Day, more than 30 scratch-off game tickets were handed out to speeders and other traffic violators in a bid to spread holiday cheer while keeping the roads safe, police say.

"We're just doing a little bit of a different technique," said Sgt. Jamie Rocque.

"When we pull the motorists over, we're also giving them the scratch-off tickets that the officers bought with their own personal funds. It's something good to do in light of the holidays. We're getting a lot of surprised looks…people don't know what to say," Rocque said.

There's no profound comment here by the police on the statistical risks of driving badly, although there may as well be. The odds of winning the top prize on a "$5000 Fiesta" scratch-off are 1 in 240,000. The odds of dying in an automobile collision: 1 in 108, or roughly 2,222 times greater than your chance of winning the five grand. Happy holidays, everyone!

[Photo credit: AP; illustration by Adam Weinstein]