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Why can’t we all be snitches?

By Innovation - 6 June 2012 12

The post [about paying teenagers to catch out underage tobacco sales] got me thinking about other areas that we could assist authorities to do their job. For example, I don’t think that the Budget has done anything to significantly increase police presence.

I think someone mentioned on a thread a while ago, the idea of using on board cameras in cars to record road offences and forward these to police to act on. I saw some flaws in this idea if someone had a vendetta or if the footage was altered but what if the police kept a database of identified vehicles and, when they received perhaps ten authentically dated reports less than three months old from separate sources, were able to then penalise the owner of the offending vehicle for at least one common offence. Reporting drivers could be given an incentive by getting a very small discount off their own rego every time an offence was enforced (ie the originators of all ten reports would get a discount).

One obvious problem I can see is drivers taking stupid actions (or trying to manually operate their cameras) trying to record other allegedly offending vehicles but perhaps this would be easily identifiable if sufficient footage was required both before and after the offence.

I know many people will think this is a terrible idea and would turn us into more of a nanny/police state but, apart from the occasional speeding offence, we all suffer from so many other offences that go undetected. Unlike speed cameras or a particular event sited by police, these reports would have the potential to show a pattern of specific and repeated offences by some drivers (eg, seat belts, phone use, not indicating) rather than when someone is simply absent minded.

Any views? What other ideas might work?

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Why can’t we all be snitches?
pptvb 3:19 pm 06 Jun 12

threepaws said :

Unfortunately, persuasion or coercion probably wouldn’t work either. What is needed is a major attitude adjustment by a lot of people.

In my experience, many Canberra drivers (more so than anywhere else I have driven) appear to have a sense of entitlement, a sense of superiority in regards to their driving skills when compared to others, and quite frankly, many people appear to be completely oblivious to what is going on around them.

The inattention by drivers that is on display on our roads every day astounds me. The fact that they are controlling (or not) a potentially deadly weapon seems to escape them.

Failing to use an indicator may seem trivial, but the potential consequences could be horrific – a child steps off the curb to cross a road because he believes it is safe, but the car turns anyway and mows him down.

People will only become better drivers when they can appreciate that a simple action or inaction could result in a tragedy, and that they or someone they love could be the one that loses their life.

So – any ideas on how to get people to adjust their attitude? I propose that making every driver watch this ad would be a good start http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0LCmStIw9E

WOW!….Sobering video, though a little “clean”. I suppose decapitations are a little too much for dinner time viewing.

I must agree on the oblivious drivers. Sure there are the ones blatently breaking the law and the ones that pick & choose which laws they wish to obey, but some drivers here are just clueless to the world outside of their vehicles.
Some random examples just from today:
– the “both feet” automatic drivers, who seem to always have their break lights on
– the cabbie reading CC receipts, while speeding through the school zone in Kambah
– the “i’ll do 65 over Hindmarsh to really make sure I don’t get caught by the P2P camera
– the ones who break at green traffic lights, inanticipation of amber lights
– Queing across intersections
– texting at traffic lights, oblivious that they’ve changed, take off quickly enough for you, but not anyone else to get through
– the confirmicators….indicating after turning
– should I mention ….foglights?

EvanJames 2:47 pm 06 Jun 12

People breaking the road rules know damn well they’re doing the wrong thing. Watch them all become model drivers when there’s a marked cop car around! My collection of tailgaters suddenly drops back the requisite distance when there’s cops around. persuasion isn’t working (and that’s what the current road rules effectively are: suggestions).

threepaws 2:30 pm 06 Jun 12

Unfortunately, persuasion or coercion probably wouldn’t work either. What is needed is a major attitude adjustment by a lot of people.

In my experience, many Canberra drivers (more so than anywhere else I have driven) appear to have a sense of entitlement, a sense of superiority in regards to their driving skills when compared to others, and quite frankly, many people appear to be completely oblivious to what is going on around them.

The inattention by drivers that is on display on our roads every day astounds me. The fact that they are controlling (or not) a potentially deadly weapon seems to escape them.

Failing to use an indicator may seem trivial, but the potential consequences could be horrific – a child steps off the curb to cross a road because he believes it is safe, but the car turns anyway and mows him down.

People will only become better drivers when they can appreciate that a simple action or inaction could result in a tragedy, and that they or someone they love could be the one that loses their life.

So – any ideas on how to get people to adjust their attitude? I propose that making every driver watch this ad would be a good start http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0LCmStIw9E

bitzermaloney 2:10 pm 06 Jun 12

Innovation said :

niftydog #1 – not sure how it’s vigilantism or retributive. The police would get the footage and, if they collated enough examples of the same type of offence for the same vehicle could then decide whether to act on it.

bitzermaloney #2 – I agree it’s a bit paternalistic but wouldn’t this be better than single incident speed cameras and P2P’s that everyone whinges about.

Diggety #4 – Persuasion etc hasn’t worked so far or did you have a specific idea in mind. I would have thought that those drivers that didn’t knowingly and repeatedly break the law would have nothing to fear. Also, wouldn’t this idea be somewhat pursuasive. I am sure the drivers I am thinking of knowingly break the rules but might be more inclined to behave better if there is a risk attached to their behaviour. They could even get a warning after the police accumulate and validate footages from five separate sources (a bit like the current points system but without the penalty).

buzz819 #5 – I agree it would be time consuming. Which is why I wouldn’t have expected people to bother reporting it unless it was clear that the other driver had no regard for a particular road rule. I wouldn’t waste my time if I only saw one mistake or someone clearly had a brain fade but, even just in the last few days, I have been nearly hit by one driver who repeatedly drifted between lanes and who turned out to be on his phone and another driver who cut several cars off including mine and over the four or so kilometres I was behind him never indicated on the at least nine occasions that I counted when it was required. Confident that I wouldn’t be the only person on the road seeing these people break the law over the next couple of months and thinking it would be worthwhile reporting them I would have been prepared to back up with statements or court appearances if ultimately required. At the moment though there is abolsutely no incentive to report them.

Felix the Cat #6 – I haven’t looked but wasn’t Rate My Plate a more public website. I was only suggesting that the police would have this info to act on if they chose.

I agree that the idea is extreme. I’ve got my concerns about it too. Which is why any financial incentive would have to be very small and the number of closely spaced but separately (ie from different individuals) reported incidences of the same type of offence pretty high. I was more hoping that the possible increased fear of being caught might make some drivers behave better generally and the number of drivers who would bother filiming and reporting errors would be very low.

I also suggested that other people might have better ideas, unless of course they are one of the repeat offenders and just like to criticise this idea or focus on some other law that they don’t choose to break repeatedly.

No. How about people actually behaving and respecting each other in the first place, instead of seeing what they can get away with?

Innovation 1:53 pm 06 Jun 12

niftydog #1 – not sure how it’s vigilantism or retributive. The police would get the footage and, if they collated enough examples of the same type of offence for the same vehicle could then decide whether to act on it.

bitzermaloney #2 – I agree it’s a bit paternalistic but wouldn’t this be better than single incident speed cameras and P2P’s that everyone whinges about.

Diggety #4 – Persuasion etc hasn’t worked so far or did you have a specific idea in mind. I would have thought that those drivers that didn’t knowingly and repeatedly break the law would have nothing to fear. Also, wouldn’t this idea be somewhat pursuasive. I am sure the drivers I am thinking of knowingly break the rules but might be more inclined to behave better if there is a risk attached to their behaviour. They could even get a warning after the police accumulate and validate footages from five separate sources (a bit like the current points system but without the penalty).

buzz819 #5 – I agree it would be time consuming. Which is why I wouldn’t have expected people to bother reporting it unless it was clear that the other driver had no regard for a particular road rule. I wouldn’t waste my time if I only saw one mistake or someone clearly had a brain fade but, even just in the last few days, I have been nearly hit by one driver who repeatedly drifted between lanes and who turned out to be on his phone and another driver who cut several cars off including mine and over the four or so kilometres I was behind him never indicated on the at least nine occasions that I counted when it was required. Confident that I wouldn’t be the only person on the road seeing these people break the law over the next couple of months and thinking it would be worthwhile reporting them I would have been prepared to back up with statements or court appearances if ultimately required. At the moment though there is abolsutely no incentive to report them.

Felix the Cat #6 – I haven’t looked but wasn’t Rate My Plate a more public website. I was only suggesting that the police would have this info to act on if they chose.

I agree that the idea is extreme. I’ve got my concerns about it too. Which is why any financial incentive would have to be very small and the number of closely spaced but separately (ie from different individuals) reported incidences of the same type of offence pretty high. I was more hoping that the possible increased fear of being caught might make some drivers behave better generally and the number of drivers who would bother filiming and reporting errors would be very low.

I also suggested that other people might have better ideas, unless of course they are one of the repeat offenders and just like to criticise this idea or focus on some other law that they don’t choose to break repeatedly.

Charlie57 11:57 am 06 Jun 12

Lots of room for abuse, but I would love some way that I could contribute to keeping the roads safer than they are. You see some absolute nutcases on the drive home to Gungahlin and to be able to report them in some useful manner would be great.

Felix the Cat 11:55 am 06 Jun 12

There was a website along the same lines, Rate My Plate I think it was called, where people could post info about bad driving (inc numberplates, vehicle make/model, alleged offence location), but I think it was shut down due to privacy concerns.

buzz819 11:01 am 06 Jun 12

You would be giving up a lot of your time to undertake this type of thing. If you were to provide the evidence to Police, you’d then have to give them a statement about the evidence, then attend court to validate the truth of the evidence. As in this case it would be your evidence, not the evidence of Police.

That is why it isn’t really done these days.

Diggety 10:27 am 06 Jun 12

“…I know many people will think this is a terrible idea and would turn us into more of a nanny/police state…”

I am one of them:

a) I’d rather see Canberrans improve their driving through persuasion, not coercion.
b) I’d rather Canberrans considered their fellow community members as people not to endanger, not people to fear.

In saying that, at least you’re taking the time to think of practical solutions.

EvanJames 10:26 am 06 Jun 12

Not sure that this is the answer, but some way of getting the daily scumbaggery dealt with would be an improvement on the current state of road behaviour, which is becoming something akin to the State of Nature. Last week, the ACT plods set up outside Snowtown and they had more customers than they could deal with. I saw one on Monday enter Pialligo Avenue and tootle along east, and within 100 metres had captured some citizen doing something bad.

yesterday a bunch of them and their cars set up on the median strip on Fairbairn Ave at the Majura Rd lights, they appeared to be having some kind of confab and all we could conclude was they were watching the queuing-across-the-intersection behaviour that is standard during busy times. If they’d moved to the Fairbairn/Pialligo lights, they would have seen much better examples of it, and lots of u-turns also.

Fact is, many drivers do what they can get away with. If they stopped getting away with it, they’d stop doing it.

bitzermaloney 10:12 am 06 Jun 12

Sounds like a nanny state taken to the next level… Ninny State.

Therefore the Greens will propose a requirement that every car in the ACT be fitted with front and rear cameras and it will become law.

niftydog 10:02 am 06 Jun 12

I think any encouragement of vigilantism or retributive justice on the roads is an extraordinarily bad idea.

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