Thursday, May 15, 2014

Video kills the way of the car

The rise of the portable and affordable high-definition video camera has produced video blogs, uncountable numbers on YouTube of videos featuring Russians running out of talent, and copious potential material for the purveyors of law and order. It’s this last point that I want to address here.

Dubai Police actually promotes a campaign that is imaginatively called “We Are All Police,” with a couple of contact telephone numbers: 800 4353 and 800 7000 since you ask. You’re welcome. The basic idea is that you pick up your phone and report an alleged offence, and the police will follow it up. Getting twenty calls all with variations on a theme of “Black Land Cruiser with this registration number driving at speed up the breakdown lane” might produce some police action. However, using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal, so a lot of these witnessed offences presumably go unreported.

Anyway, my business proposal is to combine We Are All Police with a GoPro (or similar) camera. I’m sure many drivers spend their days wondering why there’s never a police officer around when someone displays a monumental lack of regard for safety or the law, and my proposal is to do something about it. Publishing a video on YouTube of someone publicly assaulting a van driver is illegal, and the material should, we are told, be handed to the police. So here’s the plan.

In essence, I ride my motorbike around Dubai with a GoPro camera stuck to my helmet, and I record the registration number of each vehicle along with the offence being committed, all in the same take. Dubai police get a copy of the video, and I receive 50% of the fine as payment. I estimate that I could clear several hundred dirhams a day just going about my daily business and only noting mobile phone use. Dubai police receive the other 50% with little effort beyond entering the data on the RTA’s database. Imagine how much cash I could make if it were my day job…:-

Selected traffic offences: 

Reckless driving                   (AED 2000 and 24 black points),
Mobile phone use                   (AED 200 and 4 black points),
Not wearing a seat belt            (AED 400 and 4 black points),
Inappropriate use of hardstrip     (AED 600 and 6 black points),
Tailgating                         (AED 400 and 4 black points),
Running a red light                (AED 800 and 12 black points),
Stopping on a pedestrian  crossing (AED 500).
(I could make a packet every Friday just by taking a GoPro down to outside the mosque on my local street corner!)

The benefits are obvious, from an income stream for Muggins for doing little more than riding his motorbike, but go on to improved driver behaviour and consequent reduction in collisions once the idea that any motorcyclist out there might be a police deputy, in much the same way that wearing a POLITE fluorescent tabard might. Then drivers might actually notice motorcycles, which would be of further benefit in the area of motorcycle safety. Oh, and I’d get to feel as if I was getting back at some of the knuckle-dragging morons who have inexplicably been allowed control of a motor vehicle.

What of gainsayers who say that “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”? How about I only report offences that I never commit? And yes, I would undertake police training if I were required to demonstrate some level of competence on two wheels.

And what of resentful motorists who take it into their pretty little heads to run bikers off the road, much as what happens already? Would you risk it if there were a reasonable probability of the incident being caught on video and used in your prosecution? No, I didn’t think so.


1 comment:

Gnomad said...

I have been considering a dashboard camera for exactly these reasons. I don't know, however, whether the Qatar Police would welcome such videos being presented to them.


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