Big Brother is your friend

The Coalition, in an attempt to divert the public’s attention away from the morass they have got themselves into with the National Health Service Reforms, have unleashed their attack dog: Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond. Politicians know that nothing, almost nothing, exercises voters’ minds more than dangerous driving, we all think that we are better than average drivers, a statistical impossibility, and it’s always the other chap who’s to blame.

[W]ithin hours of hearing the proposals to bring in tougher new penalties for dangerous driving, while sitting stationary in my cab at a set of traffic lights on the Tottenham gyratory system, three motorists blatantly jumped a red light, I can only assume that after eleven at night red lights in Tottenham are only a suggestion and not an instruction to stop.

When driving it will not have escaped your attention that drivers can manage to drive with care and courtesy when in the vicinity of a police car, indeed if you see this unusual behaviour on a motorway you can be sure that amongst the slower moving cars is a member of the motorway patrol.

The Government’s proposals are to get away from fixed speed cameras having already scrapped grants to local authorities which enabled them to install and the monitor these devices. The proposals are to give greater powers to the police to stop bad driving, this will mean that more officers are taken from crime prevention and put on the road to catch the minority of motorists who flout the law.

London’s bus network is one of the largest and most comprehensive urban transport systems in the world, every weekday over 6,800 scheduled buses travel on over 700 different routes travelling over 300 million miles per year. If CCTV cameras were installed on every bus with a device that the driver could press when he saw dangerous driving which would put a mark on the image at the time of the alleged offence to assist retrieval, and as with many motoring offences at present, civilians could access the marked image and forward it to the driver with a fixed penalty notice. Likewise London’s 24,000 cabs could over time be converted to take these images, for it seems to me that slower moving public service vehicles are more likely to witness dangerous driving, as for some reason the few lunatics who persist in the practice of driving without due care, feel that buses and cabs are just in their way.

Over time drivers in London would have to improve their standards, or face the penalty, just as they always managed to drive with care when confronted with a police car in their path.

6 thoughts on “Big Brother is your friend”

  1. I’d rather bus drivers and cabbies concentrate on their own driving than making recordings of other drivers’ behavior, thus becoming distracted and themselves becoming dangerous drivers.


  2. Though I no longer drive, I used to do so daily and still possess a full driving licence without penalties. Travelling by public transport and Shanks’s pony, I have leisure to observe the driving habits of others. From this I see a lot of bad and potentially dangerous driving. Much of this is motivated by impatience, especially on the congested roads of cities. The rest comes from arrogance and sheer selfishness.
    A very common impatience-motivated fault is to go through red lights. Whereas drivers used to stop, if possible, on an amber light, they now ignore the amber altogether (or treat it as another shade of green) and don’t even necessarily stop on a red: many drivers now consider it acceptable to drive over lights that have “only just” become red. If this tendency evolves (and there’s seems to be nothing to prevent it doing so), then the lights will cease to be observed altogether, leading to some spectacular accidents.
    Driving instructors and the Highway Code used to emphasise something called “courtesy”, that is, the need to treat other drivers as one would wish to be treated in one’s turn by them. As far as I can see, courtesy has disappeared almost entirely, turning many roads into race tracks, increasing the danger to all drivers.
    The police are generally too busy to concern themselves with moving traffic offences (I have seen them ignore these even when they are perpetrated under their noses) so it looks as if the situation can only get worse. Cameras might help but they seem to be so insufficiently serviced that drivers feel it is safe to ignore their presence. (This doesn’t stop them whining about the supposed infringement of their liberty, of course.)
    If cameras were installed on buses and cabs, who would service them? You surely do not think that the police would or could afford to employ sufficient staff, even civilian, to do this. They barely have enough funds as it is, what with royal events and state visits.
    Increasing penalties for dangerous driving (or for any crime) does not help unless perpetrators believe they have a very good chance of being caught and brought to justice. To reduce the incidence of bad driving you need to improve the catching and charging of guilty drivers. This would require putting in the necessary manpower and this will not happen in the foreseeable future because of shortage of funds.
    Chorus: “Things are gonna get worse before they get better.”


    1. The penalties imposed could pay for maintaining the cameras, many out of work young people would be happy to be employed in their maintenance. As for observing red lights, these days I feel many regard them as a suggestion.


  3. Its a great move to install webcam on buses but If cameras were installed on buses and cabs, who would service them? You surely do not think that the police would or could afford to employ sufficient staff, even civilian, to do this. They barely have enough funds as it is, what with royal events and state visits.


    1. Thanks for your comment, but you have seem to have missed my point.
      The camera would continuously record and when a driver saw a dangerous driver he would press a button to insert a mark on the footage. Only then would the police investigate the footage and only near that mark.


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