Sun | Feb 23, 2020

Letter of the Day | Greater scope for high-tech traffic cams

Published:Monday | August 12, 2019 | 12:21 AM


I note with keen interest a recent framework that the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Mining submitted to Cabinet. This scheme provides for greater use of technology in the enforcement of traffic laws.

I was rather intrigued by the concept, and it is more than welcoming to see that the Government is moving in this direction. I have two main issues with the concept – that it does not go nearly far enough in traffic law enforcement, as well as there are a few holes in the intended system.

According to the ministry, the new system is intended to use technology in order to significantly reduce the burden placed on the security forces, to serve as a deterrent against traffic violations, increase efficiency in identifying violators, and enhance revenue from ticket collection. These are all wonderful, but it can do more.

Advancements in technology have moved far beyond that. There are now highly intelligent traffic-enforcement cameras and systems that are capable of analysing traffic situations, alerting officials of important events unfolding on the roads, and automatically generate tickets and fines. Most important, it sends them immediately to the driver.

There is some serious power in running a red light or speeding, then immediately receiving an email or text message stating the time, date, and location of my violation, as well as how much it will cost me.

Enhanced collections of tickets

Critically, the system will be judged based on how well it allows for enhanced collection of traffic tickets. One such means is being able to actually locate offenders – which begins with verifying the address of the licence holder and not just requiring an address on a form.

One such means may be to mail the licence to the submitted address or requiring an active email, or multiple other ways of reaching motorists.

This framework will be a game changer for the travelling public. Not only will it improve road safety but, with minor changes, it will drastically improve the motoring culture of our country.