A better system for reporting dangerous driving?

By 19 March, 2011 13

In response to a recent post about a hoon on a roundabout in Mitchell, several people – including myself – commented that when they had reported dangerous or stupid acts of driving to the police, the police were basically not interested in following it up.

It has often struck me that even with all of the modern advances of technology and social networking impacting on so many other areas of the way we live our lives, policing of the roads hasn’t fundamentally changed since cars were invented.

If the police – or some contraption operated by the police – didn’t see it, then it may as well have not happened.

And so we as responsible road users sit back and watch those occasional extreme acts of stupid or dangerous driving – by people who have clearly shown that they’ll keep driving that way, and will probably go on to kill or injure somebody – powerless to do a thing about it.

WHAT IF … the police were to establish a website where any road user could report details of an act of dangerous driving they had witnessed; and also enter their own driver’s license number to at least ensure some degree of authenticity and accountability.

Now obviously the police would not be in a position to followup every report, but once a trend starts developing for a particular vehicle, the driver would at the very least receive a visit from the boys & girls in blue.

The objective doesn’t necessarily need to be to prosecute. It’s the deterrent effect that would be created, if irresponsible drivers knew that any Joe Citizen out there on the roads with them actually had some minute degree of power to do something about the acts of dangerous and stupid driving they witnessed.

Perhaps it’s time we had a fundamental re-think about the way our roads are policed, including making best use of the technology we all now have at our fingertips.

Please login to post your comments
13 Responses to A better system for reporting dangerous driving?
#1
Innovation12:56 pm, 19 Mar 11

I think this is a brilliant idea. I also have noticed the recent apathy by witnesses of illegal and dangerous driving. The police could easily keep a database and web facilities for reporting incidents. The only problems I can see are that:
1/ the incidents reported would have to be significantly numerous and from so many different and unrelated sources to eliminate vexatious or harrassing complaints;
2/ so that the driver could defend themselves, details of the incident and source would need to be made available to the driver (and some complainants might not be happy with that); and
3/ unless the alleged offending driver was required to do something (other than just receiving a visit from the police), like undergoing another driving test, there still isn’t really much incentive for people to report the issue.

#2
Tooks1:16 pm, 19 Mar 11

That system pretty much already exists.

#3
RedDogInCan1:59 pm, 19 Mar 11

Innovation said :

3/

unless the alleged offending driver was required to do something (other than just receiving a visit from the police), like undergoing another driving test, there still isn’t really much incentive for people to report the issue.

Have the insurance companies run the web site – too many incident reports and they take that into consideration when next calculating your premium.

#4
troll-sniffer2:25 pm, 19 Mar 11

New Zealand used to have Traffic Wardens, private citizens empowered to issue infringments for dangerous driving etc, but I believe the system fell by the wayside.

It would certainly be an interesting concept to have a cross-section of the population given a set of powers similar to a JP after passing character checks and a course on traffic law etc, who could then be given powers to give sworn evidence to the police force if hoon behaviour is observed.

Knowing that an extra few thousand pairs of eyes on the roads might be around to report dangerous driving might just calm the odd bogan Commodore driver down a litle, sufficient to save lives if nothing else.

#5
Holden Caulfield2:27 pm, 19 Mar 11

Hmm, that’s at least two people not familiar with the failure of the Rate the Plate website, which was set up exactly for this purpose. I’m surprised you cannot see what a legal minefield this would be.

What burden of proof will be required to lodge a complaint—none presumably? This would only serve to further alienate Police responses if you ask me, haha.

The theory is sound, possibly, but you’ll end with with idiots from both ends of the scale dobbing in people for irrelevant issues or on someone they don’t like, or even as a joke against mates.

#6
buzz8192:57 pm, 19 Mar 11

There is a website where you can do that.

http://www.act.crimestoppers.com.au/cs/unsolved_crimes/share_crime_information/share_crime_information_now.jsp?edit_mode=true&return_to_repos=false&exit_ste=true

There is a section there for road laws, it has been operational for about 6 months.

It gives an option to upload any photos, to write a description of what happened, obviously the more information the better. Then if there is anything that can be followed up on it, it is.

Is that what you wanted?

#7
smont3:08 pm, 19 Mar 11

That’s because Rate the Plate was a vigilante style website set up for public shaming that had nothing to do with lodging a formal complaint with law enforcement authorities. A properly constructed and managed police website to act as (a) a conduit for reporting dangerous driving, and (b) to make best use of technology for supporting police in establishing trends (sifting the wheat from the chaff) without wasting police manpower, would be the benefits – with those making complaints required to include their driver’s license details to verify identify and allow later followup if required. It’s not intended to be the silver bullet that solves dangerous driving problems. It would, however, support police in joining the dots to identify the serial dangerous driving pests that all of us see from time to time, and wonder how long it will be before they kill somebody.

#8
CanberraGirl193:37 pm, 19 Mar 11

Firstly, you already can report traffic incidents that you have witnessed to ACT Policing’s Traffic Intelligence team, via the ACT Policing website (https://forms.afp.gov.au/email_forms/act_traffic_info).
Secondly, that’s what the Traffic Intelligence team is for, to keep track of cars/people that repeatedly commit offences.
Thirdly, if the police did not witness an offence themselves, and the person reporting it isn’t willing to make a formal statement about the matter and possibly appear in court, what else do you expect police to do?

#9
Deref5:30 pm, 19 Mar 11

That’s definitely got some merit. Not without its problems, but if it was done well it could be valuable.

Are there any places where something like that’s been operating successfully?

#10
Walker8:18 pm, 19 Mar 11

I haven’t heard of this traffic intelligence team. Someone put that on a sticker.

#11
screaming banshee8:58 pm, 19 Mar 11

RedDogInCan said :

Have the insurance companies run the web site – too many incident reports and they take that into consideration when next calculating your premium.

Ha, you assume insurance is a concern. Just last month it came out that a number of people didn’t realise that they required insurance over and above CTP.

#12
triffid11:00 am, 20 Mar 11

CanberraGirl19 said :

Firstly, you already can report traffic incidents that you have witnessed to ACT Policing’s Traffic Intelligence team, via the ACT Policing website (https://forms.afp.gov.au/email_forms/act_traffic_info).
Secondly, that’s what the Traffic Intelligence team is for, to keep track of cars/people that repeatedly commit offences.
Thirdly, if the police did not witness an offence themselves, and the person reporting it isn’t willing to make a formal statement about the matter and possibly appear in court, what else do you expect police to do?

I’m confident that system works. About a year or two ago I witnessed — for about the third time in two weeks — a P-plated genius pilot around my locale, clearly (and delusionally) thinking that he was Seb Loeb in a works Citroen at Rally France. As someone with some experience to assess that slack jawed mouth breather’s capabilities in that regard and compare his abilities to those of Messieur Loeb, I settled upon ‘total fail’ and picked up the ‘phone to chat with the plod.

Now . . . I gave them every detail I could: rego number, detailed vehicle description (make, model, colour, distinguishing features) and declared my readiness to trot along to Court if the need arose. Turned out, though, that some of my information was the critical bit of a jigsaw puzzle that the Intel folks had been looking for. They assured me they would have a patrol car ready to greet him at his place of residence. Tell you what . . . didn’t see him around very much after that.

My take on this is, if you see an idiot and you feel compelled to report them, then do it. You never know when your call is the missing bit of a bigger puzzle.

#13
Special G7:41 pm, 21 Mar 11

As mentioned in a couple of posts already – this system is already in place. Crimestoppers, 131444, 62567777 or via the ACT Police website you can reports these matters. Should you wish to provide a statement and give evidence then something can be done.

If you see dangerous driving get the plate of the person doing the driving and another car. This gives the Police another witness who may or may not give evidence as well. Two independant people giving evidence of dangerous driving is practically a slam dunk (there are no 100%s in the ACT courts).

Advertisement
GET PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP
Advertisement

Halloween in Australia?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

IMAGES OF CANBERRA

Advertisement
Sponsors
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.