Active Citizenship: One Small Step... One Giant Leap.
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Introduction.
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If a country has consistently high Road Fatalities... requiring a systematic change in its entire Road Culture... this will be very difficult to achieve without a sophisticated multi-strategy approach.  Simply punishing drivers in ever greater numbers is not going to bring about the desired effect.  [See blinkx Videos for more Information and News Stories on this subject.]
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Countries need to take a close look at similar countries with consistently lower fatality rates... identify their own problem areas... and adopt best practise methods in... Training: Licensing: Education: Engineering: Enforcement: Legislation: Road Rules: Monitoring: Re-training: Social Pressure: Punishment: the application of New Technology: etc. etc. etc.  [There are multiple choices in every aspect of Road Safety so the final outcome is infinitely varied.]
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Even getting one Law passed can take years so it is highly unlikely that any Government is going to adopt a radical system such as 'Road Supervisors' in one giant leap.  But a Government could make a positive move towards an Information based system... one small step at a time... in a number of different areas.  Supporting any parts which facilitates the use of Information... engages drivers in a pro-active way... promotes 'Active Citizenship'... or any existing programmes which operate along similar lines.    
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For instance... by introduce a Graduated licensing system: compulsory 'P' plates: a 100 point penalty system: or supporting various "How's my Driving?" type schemes.  [Read... Village vigilantes go for their speed guns.  About a scheme that allows village volunteers to catch speeding motorists which is spreading rapidly across Britain.]
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This section just takes a brief look at various aspects of this system that could be introduced without a Government making any definite commitment to a more radical scheme.
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Graduated licences.
Many countries have already introduced various graduated licensing schemes... where drivers gradually gain more and more rights as they gain experience... or probationary schemes, where they risk losing rights if they get into trouble.  
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The kind of system that we have outlined where a driver goes from a Learner's Licence: to a restricted Probationary Licence: then on to a Full Licence: [with the prospect of being demoted back to the restricted Probationary Licence if they accumulate too many points:] could easily be introduced whether a Government was considering some kind of Road Supervisor scheme or not.  
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It is better for a driver to spend 12 months on a Probationary Licence... with compulsory 'P' plates... and having some restrictions to the vehicles they can use... than to instantly face a 6 month driving ban the moment they accumulate 12 points.
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Report - Points System. 
In our example we say that every Report from a Road Supervisor would put one more Point on a person's licence under a 100 point system... but of course there are any number of ways this type of system could be run.  At present the British Government are looking at changing from a 12 point system to a 20 point system... but it would be little more effort to make a complete change and introduce a 100 point system.  
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It is also possible to have a Reporting system and a Points system run as two entirely separate entities.  Reports might come from... any member of the Public: Road Supervisors: or just the Police, and not count as Points.  A person might be Reported 50 times... 100 times and still have no Points on their licence because they had never been charged with any offence... or have quite a few points on their licence but never been Reported for bad driving by another road user.
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So if Reports did not count as penalty Points, why bother having them?  Well, having large quantities of Information could still form the basis of... Targeted Education: Social Pressure: Enforcement Policies: or even Punishment.  When a driver was Reported they could be sent a copy of the Report... an Educational Insert, explaining what they should be doing... and even a Warning Letter from the Police.  Copies of these Reports could also help inform Employers or Parents about any problems: [in exactly the same way as present "How's my driving?" type schemes.]
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They could also be made available to Instructors running courses... the Police... or the Courts.  In fact almost anything outlined under this system could still be applicable except there would be two totally separate systems to look at... how many times had the person been Reported by other drivers... and how many Points did they have on their licence.
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Possibly the Police could make out a Ticket [Report] for minor offences without actually stopping a vehicle: [which might carry a standard Fine plus Points.]  When appearing in Court charged with an offence any Reports might be taken into consideration when deciding on the level of Fine and how many Points to deduct.  
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Details about the Reports and Points might be made available on a website where they could be accessed by... Parents: Employers: potential Employers: Insurance Companies: Car Hire Companies: etc.  At some time in the future it might then be decided that there should only be one system and Reports do become Points.
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"How's my driving?" schemes. 
There are different "How's my driving?" type schemes in a number of countries... and some have reduced accident rates by more than 20%.  This basically gives any member of the public the opportunity to ring up and complain about someone's driving to their Employer.  In some countries such as U.S.A. there are companies which have been set up specifically to handle this problem.  Instead of phoning the Company direct they phone a third party who takes down the details... makes out a report... and e-mail/post the results to the client.  There is no reason why a Government could not start... or support this type of scheme: [gradually enrolling more and more companies.]
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Obviously less accidents means lower Insurance premiums for Employers so there is already a Financial incentive.  This system only requires... a bumper sticker: a call centre: and an e-mail system to pass on reports.  Nothing technically difficult... and could easily be expanded over time to include... small companies: sole traders: probationary drivers: etc.  This type of scheme could also be used to... send out targeted Education: to bring about Social Pressure: or even result in a visit from the local Police for serious and persistent offenders.
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Road Supervisors.
At present some Information can be gathered from two extremes... at one end of the scale there are Employers who are participating in "How's my driving?" type schemes... where anyone can phone up and make a complaint.  Information is not gathered in any consistent way... the general quality may be poor... there are no central Records... and there are no specific strategies for dealing with the problems.  
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Or there are unmarked Police cars which may be carrying onboard cameras which can film offences as they take place.  The Information is top quality... but there's relatively little of it... and the strategies for dealing with the problems usually just means handing out some form of Punishment.
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Either of these systems could be extended, i.e. unmarked Police cars could simply make out Reports for minor offences... off duty Police Officers could report serious incidents to their Headquarters using mobile phones... either/both of these could be gradually extended to include other members of the Law Enforcement Community: the Armed Services: registered Driving Instructors: etc. etc.  [One area in Britain is already using the RAC motoring organisation as an 'Information Feeder'.  Their breakdown vehicles are often parked-up... waiting for a call... and are in good positions to witness illegal activities.  Now they just get on the phone to their local Police.]
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From the other end... a Government could be much more supportive of these "How's my driving?" type schemes... encouraging more Employers to join.  Setting up a website so that people could... 
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  • Make a Report online.
  • Making sure that all the right Information was gathered.
  • Sending on the Information to Employers.
  • Allowing Parents to voluntarily sign up in order to keep an eye on their newly qualified teenage kids.
  • Using it as a basis for sending out targeted Educational Inserts.
  • Giving the Police and Courts access to Information.
  • Allowing a person's driving record to be viewed online by potential Employers: Insurance companies: Car Hire companies: etc. etc.
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The objective would be... for these two systems to meet somewhere in the middle... in some form of a Road Supervisor scheme.  So, any experienced driver could sign up... 
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  • To make Reports.
  • Every driver would be subject to being Reported.
  • Information gathered via the reporting system would be made available to a variety of people for different reasons.
  • And a whole range of official strategies would be developed which would use... Motivation: Deterrents: Targeted Education: Social Pressure: Enforcement Policies: and Punishment... as a means of changing driver behaviour.
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Information available.
If a central record was being kept of every Licence... how many Points a driver had... and possibly how many times they had been Reported by other drivers... then it would not be that difficult to make this Information available via a website.
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If someone went overseas and wanted to hire a car it should be possible for the car hire company to... access the website: type in the Licence number: and see all the details appear: i.e. photograph: age: address: points total: how many times reported for bad driving: any fines: details of any convictions: etc. so as to help companies make decisions about... whether to make the hiring: premiums: restrictions: insurance rates: etc.
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This type of Information could also be available to... Parents: Employers: Potential Employers: Insurance Companies: Course Instructors: Police: Courts: etc.  Having an Information based system simply means that there is... 
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  • More Information available.
  • It's better quality.
  • It's easier to access.
  • It's presented in a variety of ways.
  • It makes the process of decision making that much more efficient.
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Driver Behaviour.
The point of a Review Panel is to look at an individual's behaviour in detail and rectify the problems rather than just Fine the person and let them go... which is what generally happens in a Court.  Sometimes drivers are made to undergo some form of re-training like attending a course... but existing courses don't really work that well...
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  • The Instructors know little or nothing about the drivers who are attending the courses.
  • The course itself is not necessarily appropriate to their problems.
  • They have no way of monitoring any progress.  
  • Immediately after a course many drivers will go straight back to their old bad habits and not a single thing will have been achieved.
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A new system might just utilise its existing course structure... but an efficient reporting system should make Instructors a lot more effective because... 
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  • They would be able to access a file... giving a very good insight into the driver's behaviour.
  • They would be able to address very specific problems... relevant to each individual.
  • They would have some means of monitoring their progress after the course.  
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It is difficult to see how any real progress could be made in this area without a system that is supplying good quality Information.
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Pilot Schemes.
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The Community Speed Watch Project.  Some Police forces are showing interest in a project run in Cheshire, England... where Police in conjunction with the local council supply speed guns to local people who monitor speeding motorists.  They make themselves highly visible, wearing fluorescent jackets: [for safety: and as a deterrent] take down the details... and pass them on to the Police.  Police then send a warning letter to the registered owner... or will bring in officers to track down and prosecute the offenders.  [Read... Village vigilantes]
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Anyone who is 18 years old or above can volunteer, with no upper age limit.  Police say they are not looking for vigilantes but people who are community-concerned... and that this would be a more efficient use of resources as it would free Officers up to deal with more serious crime.  Supporters say it gives communities the means to improve their circumstances especially in rural areas. 
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One System... Many Projects.  This kind of Project is consistent with the general philosophy of a Road Supervisor's scheme.  Having something like a Road Supervisor scheme... and holding Local Branch Meetings [as outlined under 'Review Panels'] would provide one permanent structure where these kind of Projects could easily be organised and controlled... providing an instant supply of volunteers.  If one of these Projects proved to be ineffective... then their energies could be refocused in a different area... rather than scrapping the whole system and having to start from scratch again.  It would also help in developing good relations between... local People: the Police: and the Authorities.
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The Community Pace Car Scheme.  A scheme being introduced around Britain.  Some Road Safety Chiefs are asking drivers to act as 'Rolling Roadblocks'... in an attempt to force speeding drivers to slow down.  Recruits would promise to observe speed limits at all times... and carry 'Warning Stickers' in their rear windows.  Some Motoring Organisations have condemned the idea... saying that it is a recipe for conflict... that it will provoke incidents of tailgating, dangerous overtaking, undertaking and road-rage.  
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[We would agree... the scheme is also too limited... it only targets speeding... and there are likely to be as many drawbacks as benefits.]  On the upside... the Authorities say that thousands of drivers have volunteered to take part... which is a good sign for any 'Active Citizenship' type schemes.  But, what will they do if the scheme proves to be unsuccessful?  They will probably scrap it and any positive effects will be lost.  Where as... if it was part of a broader based concept... then the efforts of the volunteers could be refocused in a different direction... say on reporting bad driving over the Internet.
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Norfolk, UK.  Feb 2008, four schools in the county of Norfolk... where parent, teachers and pupils have had enough of speeding drivers... are pioneering a scheme with the aid of local police.  Police stop speeding drivers and give them a choice... a 60 fine and 3 points on their licence... or they can just get "told-off" by some of the children from the school.  More take the second choice... and according to the police... being told-off and asked to be more thoughtful in future by the children has a lot more impact than being told-off or fined by the police.  Drivers said they did feel embarrassed and ashamed... and promised to be more careful in future.  A very good example of using "Social Pressure" to change behaviour.
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In New Zealand.  There was a pilot scheme whereby any member of the public could report someone for dangerous driving... a copy of the complaint would be sent to the registered owner... if a driver was reported 3 times within a year the Police would call around to their home and speak to them about their driving habits.  Rarely did they need to call back and see someone a second time.
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In Australia.  January 2006... South Australian MP Dr. Bob Such proposes the introduction of a "Dob-in-a-dodgy-driver" scheme.  This idea was based on the New Zealand model... drivers would be able to report a range of transgressions to the Police via... e-mail: phone or fax.  Police would contact the registered owner and advise them of the complaint.
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In Nigeria.  The Federal Road Safety Commission [FRSC] is charged with responsibilities for policymaking, organization and administration of road safety in Nigeria.  Key to its operational success is its "Corps of Marshals" operating a three-tier system.
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  • First Tier [Regular Marshals]  These uniformed men and women are in the employment of the Federal Road Safety Commission.  They perform all duties assigned to them by the Corps including, and most especially, the reduction of road traffic accidents in Nigeria.  They are the strongest and most visible arm of the Corps and are called Regular Marshals.
  • Second Tier [Special Marshals]  These are volunteers of proven integrity who have considerable interest and expertise in road safety.  They do not wear uniforms but are empowered, like the Regular Marshals to arrest and prosecute traffic offenders, give lectures, offer research services and advise in their areas of professional competence.  Called the Special Marshals, they primarily assist the regular marshals.
  • Third Tier [Road Safety Club]  Youths in schools and colleges are organized into road safety clubs at the primary, secondary, tertiary and National Youth service Corps [one-year compulsory service after university graduation] levels.  Unlike the Regular and the Special Marshal, they do not patrol the highways.  Rather, they are encouraged to imbibe road safety culture from an early age and demonstrate these in their school activities.  [See... FRSC - Nigeria.]
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In South Africa.  They have set up a National Traffic Call Centre... where members of the public who have volunteered to become "Traffic Observers" can make reports by phone... or online about a whole range of dangerous and corrupt activity.  Volunteers need to register, but do not need to be drivers or car owners.  A copy of any report is sent to the registered owner... and any persistent offenders will get a visit from their local Traffic Police.  [See... Arrive Alive - South Africa.]
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In Florida USA.  In central Florida they have a  fleet which cruises up and down a 74-mile stretch of the I-4 offering free help to stranded motorists... and trying to minimize traffic congestion caused by breakdowns.  These "Road Ranger" trucks are equipped to make minor car repairs... assist with non-injury accidents... and communicate with law enforcement and emergency services.  The service, provided by the Florida Department of Transportation, include...
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  • Minor vehicle repairs [tire changes, fuel/fluid replacement, belt and hose replacement, etc.]
  • Removal of vehicles from travel lanes.
  • Securing minor, non-injury accident scenes.
  • Debris removal from the roadway.
  • Free use of a cell phone to contact assistance.
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In Britain.  The Highways Agency have introduced a kind of Highway Patrol... which do not have the powers available to Police to pursue offenders or make arrests... but can deal with... minor accidents: breakdowns: traffic jams: road reports: etc. which free Police up to pursue more serious crime.  Recruits still need to be trained... equipped with vehicles... and paid... so it is not a particularly low-cost solution.  They are expecting to recruit about 1000 people... which is not that many to cover a whole country 24/7.
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This idea might prove to be more effective if it was used in conjunction with a Road Supervisor's system which could help direct their efforts and assist them when required.  Under the system outlined... they would be very similar to 'Senior' Road Supervisors... having close daily contact with the Police... but working full-time in a paid occupation.  They could get through heavy traffic quickly be using Motorbikes and carry all the basic equipment in order to deal with... 
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  • Fires.

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  • Give First-Aid.
  • Clear up after Accidents.
  • Direct Traffic.
  • Remove broken down Vehicles.
  • Collect Insurance details.
  • Take photographs.
  • Summon the Emergency Services.
  • Assist the Police when required.
  • Help the Public to organise... tow-trucks: breakdown services: alternative transport: etc. etc.  
  • They could also make out Reports about bad driving.
  • Uninsured drivers.

Priviledge Car Insurance.

  • Move on illegally parked vehicles.
  • Call the Police about any serious incidents... like reckless driving: etc.
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The Bottom Line.
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There are already a multitude of various schemes in different countries... started by local councils or Police forces... usually targeting one particular offence... one type of behaviour... or concentrated in one small area.  What is require is one permanent system that can be used to target any problem.  
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It is unlikely that any Government is going to introduce such a radical system in one giant leap.  However, that does not stop them examining all the various options and developing a long term strategy which involves moving towards an Information based system in 5: 10: or even 20 separate stages... one small step at a time... over a decade or more.  With the resources available to a modern State they should be exploring every possible avenue rather than stumbling down one dead-end after another.
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Links.  Websites which operate on a similar idea as Road Supervisors... see an Incident... take down the details... make a Report... Information passed on.
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Better Driving Please - UK.
Arrive Alive - South Africa.
1-866-I-Saw-You! - USA. 
1800 - How's my Driving? - USA. 
Tell-My-Mom.com - USA.
Alltrack - USA.
Report My Teen - USA.
How's My Teen Driving _ USA.
References - etc - USA.
Hogline - UK.
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