We’ve all had near death experiences due to bad drivers, but there is little we can do about it right now because the police are not able to handle the reports properly. Basically, if a police officer didn’t see it, then it doesn’t really count, is what I have found in my experience.
Its the 21st Century where smartphones with video cameras and GPS are ubiquitous, and there’s an app for everything, except one that can really help make our streets safer. Its also the tail end of the Great Recession where cities are facing huge budget shortfalls, that could be narrowed with fines collected from dangerous driving offenses.
The solution is technologically simple; a central website and a smartphone app where users can submit videos of bad drivers with a little bit of information of what happened. Since there is bound to be all sorts of videos submitted, where some of them don’t really qualify as dangerous behavior, there has to be a volunteer citizen’s review where a few people must vote to approve a video before it can be submitted officially to the police. The number of citizen’s votes can also help police prioritize offenses, when they are overwhelmed by the quantity.
The police could treat the submitted videos the same way as red-light or speed cameras, where a police officer just has to review the tape, and enter the offense in the database, which will automatically mail a fine to the registered driver of the vehicle, using OCR to read the license plate. Aggregating the data can show the police the hot spots where they need to step up street patrols.
It’s really a win-win for the community and the police, because the community becomes a safer, more livable place, especially if part of the fines are used to fund traffic calming measures, and the police are freed up to handle other offensives that are plaguing our communities, like property theft.
by Dmitriy Zasyatkin