— Urban Transport
Mobile automated system detects traffic violations
In July of 2008, the European Union launched ASSETT (Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport), a program aimed at reducing accidents caused by traffic rule violations. It involves a consortium of 19 partner organizations in 12 countries, but it boils down to one thing thing for European drivers – the police will be handing out more tickets. In order to cover a larger number of vehicles, while making things easier for officers and more fair for motorists, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland is currently testing a mobile system that monitors traffic and notes when infractions occur.
The current version of VTT’s system is contained within a small trailer, which can be towed and set up at any roadside location. Using automated surveillance cameras and a wireless network connection, it detects when drivers are doing things such as not wearing their seatbelts, speeding, and following other vehicles too close. It can also monitor road surface conditions, and calculate traffic emissions.
Information on offending vehicles is recorded and transmitted to a central database, but all other traffic footage is automatically deleted after one month.
The system is presently being tested in the Finnish city of Tampere. Once the testing phase is over, the technology could be implemented directly into police vehicles. VTT estimates that the system could be ready for commercialization by 2013.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
Evidently, I BLOGGED this article and my comment... as it\'s related to so many other comments on road safety and attitude.
Humm. Looks like that by 2013, I\'ll be installing some fake license plates and start wearing a mask while driving.
Not that I don\'t like the principle of this thing... I just don\'t think it will be used to improve road safeness and rather be used to GET MORE MONEY from those perfectly stupid and scientifically unsupported speeding tickets.
Drive clearance according to traffic and weather conditions, seat belt wearing, etc etc are all good features.
Speeding however is a stupid definition. Those that state this should be put into a physics class for the rest of their life to try and learn something .
I can go 50km/h on a fiat punto with no ABS and with budget tires on the pouring rain and be PERFECTLY legal and NOT SPEEDING... but if I do the same thing on full packed Volvo... or a Porsche at 80 or 100, then I\'m the messenger of death, son of the devil, responsible for the radiations levels and for Bush re-election... and should be crucified.
SPEED TRAPS Is just the best name for the thing. It\'s a trap! It\'s the way governments found out how to increase tax... without having to go public on it.
The true killer and often overlooked is Excessive speed. This is not easy to define... but the above example IS VERY CLEAR about it. I f was in the PUNTO I would be in Excessive Speed...
Excessive Speed kills, murders and it can be as simple as a BAD driver getting the car out of the parking lot. As a bad driver... he or she should not be driving... even at 5km/h... making it UNSAFE at ANY speed.
Oh ya that\'s what the world needs! Another way to extract money out of the citizenry! How about making it so traffic flows faster with fewer stops and higher speeds all around? A mobile tattle tail is a HORRIBLE use of technology and wreaks of big brother-ism!
Here in the states they tried to put remote devices in at the stop lights and for speeding along the highway.
Get this, the highway ones were donated by insurance companies to \"help stop drunk driving\". Right.
Anyway, people freaked out and called their state Representatives, and they were not used.
The stop light machines have been tries in many places. But they found people slam on their breaks as soon as the light turns yellow, and the percentage of car accidents went through the roof.
Along with that, people freaked and called their representatives (and mayors since these were site specific) and they were removed.
What annoys me about these machines is they take away the human judgement of the police officer.
Did a person have the light turn red while they were below it, or did they purposely decide to blow the light?
I think they are an expensive waste of time, and until a police officer sees you doing something wrong, you should have the right not to be spied on. The hardware and software is now available to truly create a \"Big Brother\" society.
If this bothers you, you have to let your politicians know this is a concern and you will be voting accordingly.
Here are some points for your consideration:
The possibility that police will stop speeders (using any method they wish) solely to generate revenue does not negate the fact that the traffic laws and the enforcement of them make traveling on the public roads safer for everyone.
The fact that some cars made today can handle higher speeds more safely does not negate the need to enforce limitations for the cars that can not, nor does it negate the possibility that the driver can fail to operate the car properly at those high speeds.
The minority of situations where the laws do not seem to be useful do not negate the usefulness of the laws in a majority of situations.
A speeding trap is a trap only for those who are breaking the law. The government profiting from them is irrelevant since we shouldn\'t be breaking the law in the first place.
While breaking any traffic law, if one gets into an accident with a driver that isn\'t, one is automatically at fault for the accident. Being at fault creates the possibility to be sued by the other driver (asset liquidation and wage garnishment) and increase one\'s insurance rates for years.
\"Following the flow of traffic\" above the speed limit is not legal; one can still be pulled over by the police for doing this, and will be considered at-fault by the insurance companies for whatever accident that might occur while doing so. (Referring to point #5.)
And some questions:
Quite simply, what is so difficult about obeying the traffic laws?
If we dislike the laws so much, shouldn\'t we be using the democratic process to change them (as Dennis mentions) instead of resorting to outlawry?
If we dislike the democratic process so much, or feel that it isn\'t working, shouldn\'t we be working on changing it?
Aren\'t we setting a bad example for our children when we break laws in their presence?
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