Road Supervisors: the Law, Rules and General Principals.
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Introduction.

The Law.
Road Rules.

General Principals.

General Directives.

Accident Reports.

Incident Reports.
Suspicious Vehicles.
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Introduction.
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The Invisible Driving Examiner.  If you had one sitting next to you in the car for an hour... without knowing it... you would probably not pass the official driving test which new drivers take.
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The Invisible Policeman.  If you had one sitting next to you in the car for a day... without knowing it... you would probably break enough rules to lose your licence.
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And yet... even if both of these facts were true... you might still be a very good driver!  Which is because 'Good' driving involves a lot more than just strictly following every Rule... it is the ability to 'Interact' with other road users in a way that is consistently... Safe, Considerate and Courteous... and who better to make a judgement on this that those you are sharing your road-space with???  
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This section takes a look at the Law, Rules and General Principals of Driving... and what effect a Road Supervisor type scheme might have.  Additionally, it also has a look at some common scenarios that occur on the roads... and how such a scheme could make a contribution in the area of Accidents, Incidents and Suspicious Vehicles.  In most aspects of driving... it is the context in which Laws or Rules are broken that determines how much trouble they will cause to other people... and that means using commonsense when enforcing them... something which is sadly lacking at the moment.
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The Law.
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There is an awful lot of Case Law that refers to road use... the sort of think that Lawyers, specialising in Driving Offences would study in detail... but which most of the general population would be totally unaware of.  You will find details of these cases in expensive legal books such as... "Wilkinson's Road Traffic Offences"... [cost, approx. 300.]  There are also Laws which govern all sorts of things associated with vehicles and their usage, like... speed limits, seatbelts, drink-driving... Licences, Tax, Insurance... etc. etc.  break some of these Laws and you can expect to get a Ticket or end up in Court.
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Road Supervisors could contribute by... reporting illegal drivers... of which there are now about 2 million.  The most obvious sign would be vehicles which do not have any Road Tax... reported online, then immediately compared to a database to see if it had... Insurance, outstanding Tickets, where Registered, etc... and if necessary... clamped until the owners were found... or towed away.  [Drivers who do have Insurance are charged a special levy of about 30 p.a. to cover those drivers that don't bother with Insurance.]  Also... Reporting moving offences based on whether they were dangerous, like... drink-driving, speeding, etc . etc.
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Road Rules.
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Road Rules are the sort of thing you'll find in "The Highway Code"... something every driver should know in detail... but probably don't.  [Each new issues can have pages of new Rules and Regulations... but most people... who have been driving for years... do not read these new amendments and can get out of touch.]  These Rules govern the process of 'Interaction' that takes place on the Highways between all the various Road Users.  Each individual will interpret these Rules in slightly different ways.  Other drivers will judge you according to the way you interpret and apply these Rules.  The general consensus might be that you are a very poor driver... but you would probably be unaware of the feelings of others... and would not get a Ticket for it unless it became dangerous in some way.
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Road Supervisors could contribute by... making out Reports about any aspect of bad driving.  These Reports would be limited... but should give a driver the opportunity to receive some unbiased Feedback from experienced drivers... and an Insert made out by the Professionals on a particular Rule which was relevant to them personally.  If they did take notice of these Reports... it should help them to become better drivers.
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General Principals.
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General Principals are just broad instructions... like telling drivers that they must make every effort to avoid an accident even if they are "in the right".  That they should always try to drive in a way that is... Safe, Considerate and Courteous.  Or that they should always drive with 'due care and attention'... so that they are not distracted by anything.  These General Principals can be applied to things like... using a mobile, eating, drinking, smoking, changing a CD, looking at a map, etc. etc.  All of these things can be done perfectly safely while sitting in traffic... or they can be done in a criminally negligent way that puts other people at risk... it is the context in which it is done that really matters.  
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Many people would have done all of these things for decades without ever having a problem... but now many of these things are being dealt with as specific Laws... rather than being covered under General Principals.  The end result will not be any significant decrease in the number of fatalities.  Stupid people will continue to do stupid things... instead of creating danger by answering a phone while driving... people create danger by stopping on busy roads to take the call.  Meanwhile the authorities will end up issuing thousands of tickets to perfectly sensible people... doing perfectly reasonable things.
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Road Supervisors could contribute by... being the eyes and ears of the Law.  The vast majority of experienced driver are perfectly capable of telling the difference between something which is being done in a safe way or a dangerous way... of applying a bit of commonsense.  They would also be able to supply some Feedback to other drivers.  At present... if you find that other drivers are always... blowing their horn at you... waving hand gestures... shouting abuse... it may be that the way you Interact with others is the problem.  This should tell you that you need to make some changes... and with this system you would get some Feedback so that you would know exactly what things you needed to change.
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General Directives.
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Over the years... the Authorities have developed a great deal of expertise in the area of road accident and their causes... but this knowledge is not passed on to the general public... as a Society we just keep making the same mistakes over and over again... having the same types of accidents for the same reasons.  This system could help alleviate this problem.  Some General Directives could be issued about common scenarios where drivers come into conflict with one another.  The Directive would basically say... this is the scenario... this is the conflict that arises... and this is the way it should be dealt with.  Dealing with this type of situation would be possible if you had some kind of Road Supervisor system.
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Article.   Is legal driving safe driving? The author argues that the tendency to confuse the interrelated but different concepts of "legal" and "safe" driving hinders the effectiveness of driver education and potentially perpetuates risky driving behaviour.  [More Articles]
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When a Road Supervisor... logged on to make a Report they could be shown a video: [or similar] about some common scenarios or causes of accidents.  The Road Supervisor might learn something from the video and could also be asked to 'target' something related to it, as a priority.  Those that were then reported could be sent special 'Inserts' explaining the dangers and the correct procedures.  
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Targeted Education.  So, within this system... Knowledge would have been passed successfully from the Experts to the Experienced... who would then help identify the Inexperienced and 'high-risk' drivers... who would then have Knowledge passed on to them by the Experienced... in a 'Report' and by the Experts in the form of an 'Insert'.
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The following are just a few examples of things which might be covered... 
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Public holidays...
in bumper to bumper traffic 'do not overtake' on single lane roads... just maintain speed and position... go with the flow.  On multi-lane roads... occasionally changing lanes is alright but do not become a lane-hopper... pick a lane and stick to it.  Lane-hopping is annoying to others... potentially dangerous... and will save little or no time for the driver.
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When traffic is stuck... 
across an intersection... and traffic lights change in your favour, be cautious... allow the traffic sitting in the intersection to clear before proceeding: [may report vehicles who block the intersection unnecessarily] this might mean waiting and giving up your priority... but should be done in the interests of safety.  It is alright to go around other vehicles... but, do not leave vehicles isolated in the middle of a junction with other vehicles passing on both sides of them.
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Beware the 'Le-mans' start. 
The scenario is... the inside lane on a multi-lane urban road has come to a complete stop behind a bus [or other vehicle] which has pulled up... but drivers cannot move out because of solid traffic in the next lane which is travelling to fast.  Obviously everyone wishes to pull out... so, 'correct procedure'... be patient and as soon as the outer lane is clear allow everyone to pull out... while maintaining their position in the line. 
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The 'Le-mans' pull out... is dangerous and aggressive... it allows absolutely no consideration for other drivers... but this is what often happens...
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Maybe... a dozen cars are all waiting to pull out from a standing start the moment their outer lane becomes clear... all needing to watch the car in front... and anyone who has pulled out quickly from behind.  As the last vehicle in a line passes by, the first opportunity to pull out will fall to the car at the very back of the queue.  Those that are quick and aggressive further down the queue may also seize their chance and get out... others will have to wait.  Meanwhile the car at the very front of the queue may find that it is the very last vehicle to get a chance to pull out.
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This is dangerous... aggressive... and inconsiderate.  In every respect it is the absolute opposite to the style of driving that should be required!
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Do not use residential roads...
as 'Rat runs'.  This often happens during the rush hour... drivers turn off the main through roads where the traffic is heavy and weave their way along quiet residential streets: [often driving to fast.]  The 'directive' might say... 'if you live in the suburb concerned you may take these side streets before joining the main road but you should not turn off and travel in a basic parallel direction before rejoining the main through-road further along its route.  We are sure these type of directives would be very unpopular with some people who like to use these back roads... but this is also very annoying for those who live along the affected streets.
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As with all things... it is a case of striking a balance between an individuals rights... and the rights and safety of the wider community. 
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Article.  Traffic calming and the battle for the roadway  Traffic calming road design features are angering drivers, but they may be a better alternative than speed limit enforcement and fines.  [More Articles]
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In the wrong lane?  
Then if you make a mistake the onus should always be on you to inconvenience yourself rather than others.  In a turn left lane? cars right behind? but decided you really want to go straight on? then it's your problem! your responsibility! drivers should make the turn and sort their problem out afterwards... finding a place to turn around... or an alternate route.  They should not inconvenience other traffic which is in the correct lane... drivers should expect to be reported if they allow this situation to develop.
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Avoid Accidents.  
Drivers should always make ever effort to avoid an accident even if they are clearly 'in the right'.  Even if a driver met a vehicle travelling the wrong way down a one-way street they should still make ever effort to ensure this does not result in an accident.
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Education.  
If a Government Panel decided that one of these directives needed to be promoted... it could be done on the Website and on T.V.  All drivers informed... 'this is what is happening... this is how it should be done'.  Many would respond in the correct way... some improvement!?  Road Supervisors could be asked to target the directive in question... identifying those drivers who were not responding in the correct way... and the process of Targeted Education... Social Pressure... and Enforcement could then be applied... problem rectified!? maybe!
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Government Reality Check...
When the Authorities do issue General Instructions they should make sure they are based on the reality of 21st century driving rather than their Utopian dream.  Braking distances shown in The Highway Code must be about 40 years out of date... telling drivers to keep a 4 second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front in wet weather... also about 40 years out of date... [at 60mph you'll need 117.2 yards] try finding that much space on the M25 during the 24/7 "rush hour".  They tell drivers who are feeling tired... have become upset because of a road rage incident... just pull over and rest... calm down... Just pull over? what planet do they live on?  Their advice to people who are feeling sea-sick?  Just sit under a tree!
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Accident Reports.
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Minor accidents.  
Most drivers will at some stage have at least one minor accident... and even that can be a fairly traumatic experience.  Following an accident... there can be an awful lot to think about and that can greatly add to the stress of the situation.  Any witnesses have a habit of disappearing very quickly so a clear head and some immediate action can be vitally important.
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Minor Accident?  You may be surrounded by people... but in this situation you may find yourself pretty much on your own. 
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At present... a common scenario for a minor accident might include the following...
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Realising straight away... that you are now going to be late for a very important appointment... stressful! having to exchange details with maybe, two? other drivers... one in front, one behind.  Exactly what Information do you need to exchange with these other drivers?  Name? address? phone number? car make? model? registration number? licence details? insurance details? were there any witnesses? what are their details? was anyone injured? what damage was caused to the vehicles? did anyone admit liability? should you call for the Police? would they even attend? should you inform them afterwards? if so, how soon... and at which Police station?  Failure to ask all the right questions could prove very expensive!
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Other Drivers.  Then there are the other drivers involved.  What if they do not co-operate and give you the Information you've asked for? what should you do if they try to leave? or if you think they might have been drinking?  What if they become abusive or threatening? or demand that you accept liability?  Maybe they will apologise and admit is was all their fault... only to put an entirely different story on the insurance claim form! with no witnesses it may just be a case of your word against theirs!  If this occurs on a busy road in the 'rush hour' it may be the cause of a major hold up... so there just might be a number of other irate drivers coming in your direction. Yet more stress!
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So, having got all the paperwork out of the way... what would you do with the vehicle? You need to get your vehicle off the road... but how do you assess if it's driveable?  [If you're a member of a motoring organisation then some of your problems may be solved!]  If you need a tow truck... how much will that cost? who should you ring? or alternatively there may be half a dozen trucks at the scene already, in which case... who are you going to choose? where will you have it towed to? do you need to go with the vehicle? how will you be able to pay? how will you continue on your journey to that important appointment?  If all this were to happen at night and/or in really bad weather conditions... it would all seem that much worse!
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You can never  remove... 
the stress of being involved in an accident completely... even a minor one... but once it has happened... you can certainly help alleviate the situation.  The following covers the same basic situation... but described as though there were some kind of Road Supervisor type system in place...
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Following a minor accident... on a busy road in the 'rush hour'... drivers get out of their vehicles... maybe a bit flustered and stressed.  Road Supervisors should automatically stop to give assistance as it is obvious that traffic will soon start to build up... and the scene needs to be cleared as quickly as possible.  With one driver in ten?? a Road Supervisor... it should not take long for assistance to arrive.  If no one is injured... then their priority would be to direct the traffic: [make sure there are no further accidents] take a few photographs: [to assist in any insurance claims] and then clear the scene as quickly as possible: [to avoid long hold ups.]  Any Senior Road Supervisor [one driver in a hundred??] should also stop and would be legally in charge of the situation... in a similar way to a Police Officer.  
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Once the scene is cleared: [of vehicles and debris] to the side of the road or up a side street... the paperwork could be dealt with.  Road Supervisors should carry a supply of forms which show all the Information that needs to be exchanged... drivers could just sit in their vehicles and leave the whole process to the Road Supervisors if they were unable to cope with the situation: [those becoming aggressive could be ordered to wait in their vehicles.]  If for any reason the situation was becoming difficult: [because of an aggressive or threatening driver] or the Information being supplied was unsatisfactory... or a driver was suspected or being 'under the influence': etc. etc. etc. then a Road Supervisor could call Police for assistance.
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Senior Road Supervisors... should have some training in damage assessment... so could say whether a vehicle was safe to drive or not.  They should also have access to a range of free phone numbers so could assist with tow trucks: motoring organisations: taxis: or just help in contacting a friend. 
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Road Supervisors... should then submit an 'Accident Report' which would include any photographs taken... and this could be made available to all the interested parties.
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Carjacking... 
with vehicles using ever more sophisticated alarm and immobiliser systems there is a greater need for car thieves to get their hands on the keys.  This is often done by a vehicle deliberately causing a minor accident with the 'target vehicle': [which is usually a vehicle with a single occupant and very often a woman.]  When the driver gets out to inspect the damage the thieves jump into the car and drive off.
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With this system... any driver feeling vulnerable could remain inside their vehicle and display an acknowledged signal to request assistance from Road Supervisors.  Everyone might drive to a more public place before getting out of their vehicles... the Road Supervisor might also phone the Police to log details of the offending vehicle: [with mobile phones having in-built cameras... perhaps even a photo of the offending driver could be available to the Police within seconds] who might attend the scene if it was a vehicle/driver which had already been brought to their attention for some reason.  Whatever the agreed procedure... it would make targeting lone drivers a lot more difficult and should provide a bit more peace of mind to those who felt at risk.
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Major accident.
Hopefully, it will never happen... but what would you do if you just drove around a bend and suddenly found that you were the first to arrive at the scene of a serious accident... that involved a number of vehicles... and multiple injuries?  Eventually... one way or another... the Emergency services would arrive at the scene... but in the mean time... if it's all down to you! would you have any idea what you should be doing?
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Road Supervisors... should [at least in theory] have some idea of what is required of them in these circumstances.  Senior Road Supervisors should receive extensive training in how to take charge and deal with this type of situation... until the Emergency services arrive.  An effective response in the first moments following an accident could make all the difference to those directly involved.

The Emergency Services.

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Incident Reports.
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An 'Incident' means... that there is something very definite to report... it may not directly relate to a driving problem... but where a vehicle can be identified as a point of reference.  This category might be compared to a kind of mobile 'Neighbourhood Watch' scheme: [which could provide important intelligence for Law Enforcement Agencies] any report would be read by the Police before any action was decided upon.
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Driving offence.   
This could be something which involves a complex series of driving offences which requires a detailed explanation... such as a 'road rage' incident that involved two vehicles.
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Illegal activity...  
of any kind... which might include someone who is obviously trying to buy or sell drugs... people who are illegally dumping waste... or are trying to steal something.
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Assault.  
This could also be a 'road rage' incident... but one that ended in a physical confrontation... or could be unrelated to any driving incident... but the assailant was seen to get into a vehicle and drive off. 
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Article.  Road rage (USA) Tailgating... giving the finger... outright violence... Americans grow more likely to take out their frustrations on other drivers.  [More Articles]
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Damage to property.  
Other than to another vehicle: [unless the damage was being done deliberately] which would be reported as an accident... but could include... vandalism: spraying graffiti: or people having a party which resulted in smashing bottles: or throwing rubbish onto someone else's property.
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Sexual offences.
There is probably very good reason why any report of this type should remain confidential.  Whether the offence being reported was for Indecent exposure: Kerb crawling: [i.e. looking for a Prostitute... if this was illegal] or anything of a sexual nature.  There is always the possibility that this could be used by someone with 'malicious intent'.
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Suspicious Vehicles.
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This really does cover a multitude of things which are hard to define... 'have you seen anyone acting suspiciously'? but in practice may be easy to identify.  It may just be someone hanging around a long time for no apparent reason... or someone who keeps driving around the block slowing up as they pass a house.  Probably not the sort of thing you'd phone the Police about but might just prove to be an invaluable piece of Information when a crime is later being investigated.
Neighbourhood Watch Sign.
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All that needs to be done... is take the vehicle details and log them in direct over the Internet: [or by post] and then forget about it.  Software should enable Police to 'retrieve' this Information in a number of different ways...  Vehicles at that Location: or at a certain Time: or as a much more general search: i.e. any suspicious white vans hanging around schools.  A driver would not know that they had been reported in this way... but a large number of reports from various sources about suspicious behaviour might prompt Police to take a closer look at the activities of the individual in question.
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There are a number of ways... this type of information could be gathered and processed depending on the sophistication of the software.  An 'Incident' might require the presence of the Police immediately... in which case the Police would be called in the normal way.  If Information was sent over the Internet... the software might analyse the Information by comparing it to its own data base... this vehicle is registered at a false address... registered to a known criminal... suspicious vehicle hanging around a school and registered to a know sex offender... Information only 5 or 10 minutes old.  This should start the alarm bells ringing... the details could be despatched to local Police for them to investigate immediately.  This system could be refined so that the Police could target their resources more efficiently.
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Criminal Behaviour...
It is often the case that people know or suspect... dangerous, illegal, criminal activity... would be prepared to let the Police know about it... but do not want to go and make a statement at a Police Station... or appear as a witness in a Court Case.  It should be possible for people to log on anonymously... create a user ID... and make out a Report over the Internet.  Police would soon identify those users who were supplying good quality information and could prioritise any Reports they made.  Likewise with those that supplied useless or malicious Reports.  If someone Reported that some stolen goods could be found at a particular lock-up garage... or just point Police in the right direction so they could identify an offender... this would be much better than never receiving any information.
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