Ja­panese rail firm switches on ‘drunk spot­ting’ cam­eras to pre­vent ac­ci­dents

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

A Ja­panese rail­way com­pany is turn­ing to cam­eras as a way to spot drunken be­hav­ior and keep late-booz­ing pa­trons from tum­bling onto the tracks, a spokesman said Wed­nes­day.

West Ja­pan Rail­ways (JR West) has in­stalled nearly 50 closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion cam­eras at its Ky­obashi train sta­tion in Osaka to stop ac­ci­dents that fre­quently in­volve le­gions of late-drink­ing “salary­men.”

The suited city work­ers are well-served by ex­ten­sive ur­ban train net­works that whisk them back home at the end of the night.

While the worst that hap­pens to most cor­po­rate war­riors is nod­ding off and miss­ing their stop, a small num­ber are hurt or killed in sta­tions ev­ery year by plung­ing onto the tracks.

“The cam­eras are meant to de­tect pas­sen­gers be­hav­ing ab­nor­mally — in­clud­ing those who are feel­ing ill — as quickly as pos­si­ble so that plung­ing ac­ci­dents can be pre­vented,” the spokesman told AFP.

The new sys­tem would au­to­mat­i­cally de­tect odd move­ments, such as un­steady walk­ing or pas­sen­gers sit­ting on a bench for an un­usu- ally long time, and set off an alarm to pre­vent po­ten­tial trou­ble.

The cam­eras mark the latest move taken by JR West — which op­er­ates around Osaka, a com­mer­cial hub, and the an­cient city of Ky­oto — af­ter it changed the di­rec­tion of plat­form benches in March.

The seats were ro­tated to face along the plat­form rather than the tracks in the hopes of stop­ping drunken pas­sen­gers from march­ing head­long into trou­ble.

Be­fore the cam­eras were in­stalled last week, sta­tion em­ploy­ees were tasked with keep­ing an ea­gle eye on at-risk trav­el­ers.

JR West said it would con­sider ex­pand­ing the pi­lot pro­ject to other sta­tions.

An in­ter­nal com­pany study found most peo­ple who had fallen onto the tracks had done so af­ter wak­ing up from an al­co­holin­fused slum­ber on benches and then walk­ing straight over the plat­form’s edge.

About 60 per­cent of some 3,000 an­nual cases in­volv­ing pas­sen­gers fall­ing onto train tracks were due to al­co­hol, ac­cord­ing to Ja­pan’s trans­port min­istry.

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