it is not so easy to take a fool proof traffice offence picture, read here
- From: pluto <pluto@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 02:38:11 +0800
EDITORIAL: Zooming in on the evidence
THE director-general of the Road Safety Department, Suret Singh, has been
bowled over by the "overwhelming" response to the panducermat website, with
the tally of daily hits almost double the initial estimates.
At the same time, he has been astounded by the number of pictures sent to
the website?s "Hall of Shame", showing cars parked illegally. He had been
"hoping for more pictures and details of motorists speeding or driving
dangerously", which would have been more consistent with the website?s aim
of discouraging driving behaviour that could lead to accidents. This is
certainly a valid point.
Illegal parking can hardly be seen as putting road safety in serious
jeopardy, though it is just as symptomatic of the low regard for
enforcement. At best, those who leave their vehicles where they are not
supposed to deserve the parking tickets wedged under their wipers. At
worst, they are inconsiderate motorists who drive others to distraction by
blocking access and slowing traffic to a crawl. They should more properly
become the targets of the websites of municipal councils bedeviled with
acute congestion in their business and shopping districts rather than the
quarry of an agency dedicated to the task of reducing accidents.
The preponderance of images which do not do very much to further road
safety suggests that it may not have been productive to give people
considerable leeway in what they could photograph. While spelling out the
kinds of alarming road behaviour to look out for might have cramped their
style, it would not have put a damper on their participation. On the
contrary, if the parameters were more clearly defined, the road vigilantes
could have benefited from the greater sense of purpose that such a sharper
focus brings. They would certainly be in a better position to fulfil their
obligations as citizens distressed at the high accident rate by posting the
kind of photographs that could pull the plug on rude and reckless driving.
It is not clear what kind of traffic violations the first batch of 40 road
sinners have been guilty of. But if the pictures posted on the Internet are
going to be used as photographic proof to prosecute offenders, there is an
even greater need to itemise them. The road watchers would not only have to
zoom in on unsafe driving but also capture it in a manner that meets the
standards of evidence. However, camera phones or regular digital cameras
are not likely to carry the specialised equipment needed to pinpoint
vehicles speeding over the legal limit or going through a red light. The
possible problems in meeting the rules of evidence suggest that the
department may be limited to making the "Hall of Shame" more of a medium to
expose dangerous driving rather than a tool in the enforcement of traffic
laws. If the latter is to be the case, the public needs to know exactly
what offences to look out for and how the authorities are going to act on
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