Private Mobile Cameras To Catch Speeding Drivers

from the vigilante-justice dept

Ever been happily driving along and seen some jerk cut you off or was driving ridiculously fast around you (assuming, of course, that you're not the jerk) and wondered where were the highway patrol was when they could actually do some good? Ever wished you could report the offender yourself? Well, over in Ireland, they're considering a policy that would give private companies mobile cameras to place in unmarked cars to record moving traffic violations and record the details so tickets can be sent and points and fines assessed. In other words, we're getting beyond the police and stationary traffic cameras - and putting traffic law enforcement into the hands of private individuals just driving around. Now, of course, take this the next logical step. If you're going to offer such things to private companies, why not private individuals directly? And, then, why bother equipping them with special cameras? Why not just build radar detectors into the next generation of camera phones, and deputize everyone as a traffic cop? Yes, it's a bit of an exaggeration, but is there a point where this goes too far? How do you protest being given a ticket when your accuser is an anonymous driver somewhere else on the road?

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  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 30 Sep 2003 @ 1:54am

    Why Use A Third Party?

    One step further: Why put a camera in my car to record a violation made by your car? Why not just put monitoring equipment in your car directly to report you to the police? Why not, instead of monitoring, put in governing equipment to actually limit your ability to break the law? Perhaps invasive, but I expect to see this in my lifetime.

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  • identicon
    DL, 30 Sep 2003 @ 6:57am

    Could overwhelm the courts

    Right now, the police officer who arrests you for speeding needs to show up at your court date in order for the prosecution to occur. I see no reason why this requirement would be dropped for private individuals. If you catch someone speeding on the road as a private individual with a "radar phone", you need to show up in court to prosecute. And it could be very easy to defend against... your radar phone must have been broken! You were speeding and I was standing still, so it was showing YOUR speed! In "your word against mine", cops have an advantage. When it is citizen versus citizen, it will just be a mess.

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    • identicon
      Beck, 30 Sep 2003 @ 8:46am

      Re: Could overwhelm the courts

      With the current cameras there is no cop. You just receive a ticket in the mail. Try defending yourself against something that happened a couple of weeks ago and you can't remember any of the circumstances. If you do take it to court I don't know who testifies - the camera can't testify. Maybe it's the civilian contractor who works for the company that operates the camera and who is paid based on the number of tickets they issue.

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  • identicon
    BG, 30 Sep 2003 @ 6:58am

    No Subject Given

    One could have an in-car video camera that would record your trip each time you drove. The camera would wide-angle view out your windshield maybe from behind you (and maybe include your gauges to show your car's relationship to events) and record all those situations that might jeopardize your trip and others. Isn't it your fault if you hit someone from the rear even though they've recklessly drove in front of you and created the accident? The camera could record in compessed video and store trips for future use. Don't police cars have this? We're driving safe let us be able to prove it.

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  • identicon
    Mike, 30 Sep 2003 @ 9:42am

    What's next

    If individuals did this, we'd all become victims of retaliation from our neighbors. Lets just save time and have chips inserted in our bodies to record our every move and report any criminal violations!

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    • identicon
      LittleW0lf, 30 Sep 2003 @ 4:55pm

      Re: What's next

      If individuals did this, we'd all become victims of retaliation from our neighbors. Lets just save time and have chips inserted in our bodies to record our every move and report any criminal violations!

      Oh, it is worse than that, I am afraid, Mike...

      Considering the fact (though I question its validity) presented in quite a few of the drivers training movies I watched years ago, every driver on the road commits a rolling infraction an average of every 5 minutes. Most of them are simple infractions, which the driver, either consciously or subconsciously (through habit) makes a value judgement based on the available information and breaks the law in order to prevent an accident, shave time off of their travel, etc..

      I would personally ask not to participate in this, as a defense lawyer would be able to easily find reason why their client should not be guilty of passing a car on the right since I illegally did the same thing thirty minutes before, though they were doing it to get in front of me while I was doing it to avoid an accident with another motorist who failed to signal a left hand turn and slammed on their breaks in the middle of the road.

      There may be reasons for the infraction which are not captured by the camera, and in my humble experience, the ones most in favor of this are also the ones who lash out at other drivers on the road. I've been in cars with proponents of cameras, and they are usually the first to point out the failures of others and the last to admit their own failures.

      I may drive defensively on the road, and I may get upset (though rarely) when others don't, that gives me no right to impose my will on another driver without due process, whether it be with a camera or a gun. To do otherwise, especially without the years of training police get (and even then, some of them don't learn,) is one step above road-rage.

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    • identicon
      Another Mike, 1 Oct 2003 @ 2:30am

      Re: What's next

      Just give everyone a GPS-enabled Coke can!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 30 Sep 2003 @ 11:47am

    Terrible idea

    Look, just cut to the chase. If you want to stop all traffic violations, just put the technology into the cars themselves that tracks the cars movements etc. But who wants that? Why can your car go 100 mph (and unless you have a geo metro, it can go 100 mph) when no state officially allows that speed? People enjoy the freedom to drive without the stress of being called on every single little (okay, or even big) violation. That's why in NY, where you can catch speeders simply by comparing their entry and exit times off the toll roads, they have not used that data to enforce speeding laws.

    "Yes sir, buy this here $280K Lamborghini, but we've put some safety features in place to slow down initial acceleration and limit your top speed to 80 mph while in the States. In fact, we replaced the engine with a the new Honda Prius. It's a joint venture sorta thing."

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    • identicon
      aNonMooseCowherd, 30 Sep 2003 @ 1:07pm

      Re: Terrible idea

      Why can your car go 100 mph (and unless you have a geo metro, it can go 100 mph) when no state officially allows that speed?

      So it will have enough power to go at 60 uphill.

      Personally I'd be happy to have cars automatically restricted to the speed limit. It might have saved me from getting hit recently by a car which was most likely going about twice the speed limit. Furthermore, there are some streets where so many people drive way over the speed limit that driving at the posted limit is downright dangerous.

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      • identicon
        nobody, 1 Oct 2003 @ 7:34am

        Re: Terrible idea

        Personally I'd be happy to have cars automatically restricted to the speed limit.

        The only problem is that regulators in cars cause more accidents than they prevent. Most drivers routinely exceed the speed limit for short periods of time while passing, in order to give room to other cars merging, and in many other common traffic situations. Take away this ability and you cause more accidents.

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        • identicon
          AMetamorphosis, 1 Oct 2003 @ 8:42am

          Re: Terrible idea

          Thank you for pointing out what I had in mind ... I won't repeat, but hopefully add to your comment.
          Has anyone thought about the fact that just because something is a law doesn't mean that you " might " need to break it ?
          Have you ever been followed ?
          I have and am personally glad I've had the ability to speed away.

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  • identicon
    Big Brother, 1 Oct 2003 @ 8:20am

    An Alternative for the Sheeple

    For those of you that seem to like the Orwellian idea of control, may I suggest you park your privately owned cars and use mass transit ?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2003 @ 5:39pm

    Two ideas

    1) Any device that requires aiming would cause more problems than it solves - vigilante motorists giving chase to monitor the lawbreaker. Instead mount a single button above the horn. A driver pushes the button when he/she sees an infraction, and the car takes video of its surroundings. Alone there's probably not enough evidence but if multiple drivers send the alarm, the multiple views and witnesses can make the case.

    2) Use the carrot instead of the stick. Insurance companies can offer their customers a discount if they obey the law as monitored by blackbox+GPS coded speed limits, stop signs, etc + beacons on the traffic lights. This would also have the effect of controlling the non-participating drivers through a gating effect eg the two or three drivers who would have followed you if you cut a red light close.

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