Getting help to police the roads
Most people would by now have seen the horrific video of a Terios overtaking a car which was already on the inside lane, getting almost overturned in the process, and then whizzing out at a suicidal speed around a roundabout.
Fortunately, very fortunately, there were no victims although there could have been.
This terrible video encapsulates the mayhem that exists on Malta’s roads, a mayhem that is causing so many deaths and accidents, road rage and the terrible traffic jams that have become an everyday occurrence.
The police seem completely impotent to bring about some order. The government comes up with technical schemes such as the tidal wave or re-using the Marsa Shipyard area, but it does not seem enough. However, there have now come into play two technical improvements that may get to have an impact on making our roads safer.
The first innovation is dash cams, that is telecameras mounted on dashboards, which many have taken up and fixed in their own vehicles. Such dash cams, as they are known, come in useful in the case of an accident.
But there is another use for them if used in conjunction with another technical development. This is the growing number of Facebook pages and groups upon which footage of traffic infractions as captured by dash cams are posted.
The Terios suicidal onslaught became national news because it was posted on to one of these Facebook pages and copied ad infinitum.
Careful analysis by a viewer yesterday showed that the driver of the Terios was looking and probably tapping on his mobile just mini-seconds before the near accident. Now the number plate of the offending car was clear enough, so technically the police should be able to haul the driver and charge him with putting his own and the life of others in jeopardy. The same Facebook pages and groups have innumerable videos, thanks to dash cams, of people shooting through red traffic lights, double parking and creating a hazard, and other glaring traffic infractions with number plates both visible and clear. A police force that is determined to bring back some order on to the streets, especially when driving is becoming more and more stressful, ought to welcome this help and to use the footage thus offered with gratitude. These miscreants need taking down a peg or two. The government has recently spoken of increasing the penalties for road infractions. This is good, although, to say the truth, when the penalties were last increased there was no corresponding decrease of road crimes. People have got used to getting off scot free except in the unlikely event of running through a traffic camera or being fined for illegal parking.
It is time to get beyond these static road crimes and investigate the real road crimes, those committed by speed devils, by people texting on their mobiles and the like.