Get­ting help to po­lice the roads

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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