The Concept.
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Road Supervisors. Busy Freeway Traffic.

[Outline]

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Introduction.

Who should be a 'Road Supervisor'

Training.

Powers.
Responsibilities.
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Introduction. 
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Within this system... the main purpose of a Road Supervisor would simply be, to help gather Information.  When someone causes an accident... they could be a 'low-risk' driver who has been driving for many years and then suddenly makes an uncharacteristic error... a genuine mistake which could not be foreseen.  On the other hand, accidents are frequently the inevitable result of some kind of high-risk behaviour.  Bad habits which have been allowing to develop and continue over an extended period of time.    
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'High-risk' drivers are there for all to see... they come in many different forms... they might be very hard to 'define' but they are very easy to 'spot'.  Who better to make an objective assessment of a person's driving than those they are sharing their road-space with? not a 'camera', that is for sure!  Under this type of system... every single one of us would be putting our driving up for public scrutiny... to be continuously assessed by our 'Peers'... who could, between them, establish exactly who these high-risk drivers were... and why they should be considered high-risk.
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Some would 'judge'.... all would be 'judged'!
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Article.   Informal vs. formal traffic laws The battle over speed limits may be more one of roadway equity and the role of the car in transportation than of saving lives.  [More Articles]
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'Good' Driving... 'Bad' Driving. 
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Both are vague terms... and open to interpretation.  We use them many times throughout the website... so let us make it clear exactly what we mean by these terms.  'Good' driving is made up of a number of different components... 
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Dexterity Skills.
Judgement: co-ordination: reactions: the ability to handle a vehicle.  Many young drivers consider themselves 'Good' drivers based on this simple notion... 'they drive fast and they have quick reactions'. [Possibly they do... but, if you were looking for definitions of 'Bad' driving this might be one... 'a person who relies on their reactions to avoid accidents'... a 'Good' driver very rarely gets the chance to test their reactions!]  These skills form the most basic aspect of driving and are the easiest to learn... a person can have fairly poor dexterity skills but still be a perfectly good, safe driver... or they can have excellent dexterity skills and be an absolute menace on the roads. 
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As soon as a driver starts reducing their 'margins of error'... any advantage they might of had with their quick reactions will be instantly cancelled out.
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Hazard Perception.
'Experienced' drivers are not only quick to detect hazards but can also see the potential for hazardous situations to develop and take evasive action.  'Good' driving means... developing a sound knowledge of 'defensive' driving techniques and avoiding hazards by... being aware of everything that is going on in close proximity: observing things which are happening up ahead: making decisions well in advance: signalling your intentions clearly: cooperating with other drivers: always leaving a good margin of error: being prepared for the unexpected: and making considered responses as and when circumstances change... rather than 'instant reactions'.
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'Good' drivers not only avoid hazards but make sure they consistently drive in a style which will not contribute to the development of these hazardous situations.
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Compliance to the Rules. 
Especially when it really matters.  This may sound like a contradiction in terms... but, as drivers come in close proximity to other road users... in heavy traffic or at greater speeds... the need for strict observance of the rules becomes more and more important.  If a driver is travelling slowly... there is no other traffic around... and they change lanes suddenly without indicating... it really doesn't matter.  But, if they do it in heavy traffic... while travelling at speed... it could be disastrous.  
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It is not just the breaking of rules which is important... it is the context in which they are broken that really matters.
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Constructive Attitudes.
Drivers must have an acute sense of Responsibility for their own safety... as well as their passengers and all other road users.  Maintain a high level of Concentration at all times... so they do not allow themselves to become distracted from the task at hand.  Show Patience and tolerance to other road users... accepting that others will make mistakes... and not reacting with displays of... aggression: abusive language: or obscene gestures: and having a quiet Confidence in their ability as an... efficient: skilful: experienced driver.
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Developing the 'Right' Attitudes is not easy... but it is absolutely essential to 'Good' driving.  Those who come to view driving as a race... a battle... or a competition... will inevitably become a major part of the problem!
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Interactive Ability. 
'Good' driving is a complex process and any definition of it could go on for pages... but, ultimately, it should be viewed as an exercise in Social Interaction... which requires the active cooperating of everyone involved.  When all the different aspects of driving are brought together... this is what 'Good' driving is all about...
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'The ability to 'Interact' with all other road users in a way which is consistently... Safe: Considerate: and Courteous'.
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'Bad' Driving.
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It is the very foundation of this system... that, if you are a driver with many years experience... then we don't need to tell you anything about 'Bad' driving... it can be hard to define, but...
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'You know it when you see it' !!!  
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Who should become a 'Road Supervisor'.
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When it comes to deciding who should become a Road Supervisor... every single point could be endlessly debated.  The following are some points to be considered... but the criteria laid out is just an example.  Basically, all you need are experienced drivers of good character... who are literate... and will not abuse the system in any way.
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Over 25 years old.
Gaining experience does take a certain amount of time... developing a 'mature' attitude can take much longer... so we feel some minimum age criteria would be necessary.  Picking a birthday, [any birthday] is much easier than trying to 'test' each driver individually... so for arguments sake... we'll just say 25 is a good age: [however, if you have the results of extensive scientific research that prove it should be some other age... we'll be delighted to hear about it!]
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Under 70 years old.
As drivers become older... their driving skills do begin to deteriorate 'so it is necessary'?? to have some upper age limit and again, it is much simpler to pick a birthday as the time to give up being a Road Supervisor than to try and 'test' the capabilities of each driver individually.  Even though an upper age limit might be set for making reports out on the road, it does not mean that the same age limit needs to be imposed for participation in all aspects of the 'Road Supervisors Scheme'.  Older drivers still have many years of experience and could still be actively involved with 'Review Panels' or 'Branch Meetings'.  
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We have picked the upper age of 70 for one reason... in many counties a driver's licence will run up to 70 years of age with no restrictions.  After the 70th birthday... eye sight tests and medicals are required on a regular basis and could result in a licence being withdrawn.
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'Statistics' may prove... that an 'ideal' age is lower or higher than 70... or it might equally be argued that there should be no upper age limit... as long as a driver meets all the other necessary requirements... then their opinion of their fellow drivers is just as valid as anyone else's!  If a compulsory retirement age of 70 was set then there would probably be an upper age limit for joining as well... which might be something like 68 or 69?  We are aware this could be a very contentious issue... but that is no reason to avoid it.  
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What do you think?  just click Feedback and let us know.
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Held a full licence for...  
at least 4 years.  A minimum amount of experience is required and this would not always be easy to gauge.  A driver could have held a licence for 4 years but done very little driving in that space of time.  As long as a driver could qualify through these broad categories then it would be up to them to decide if it was a responsibility they wished to take on.  Maybe, a person had little driving experience but still used the road in some other capacity, like as a cyclist, and so would have that perspective when reporting unsafe driving, which of course is just as valid as any other point of view.

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No criminal record. 
Road Supervisors should be 'good' citizens who maintain high standards of behaviour, of course this can never be guaranteed, so when dealing with complete strangers there would always be a need for vigilance.  
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Those with criminal records would probably be ruled out.
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Not convicted...
of a serious motoring offence in the last ten years.  Those convicted of serious motoring offences would not really be qualified to tell others how they should be driving.  The way people drive does change considerably over the years, even though a driver may seem reckless at aged 20, it does not mean that they could not be very good drivers by the time they reached 30 years of age.
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If 'ten'? years had passed and all other criteria were met... then this would indicate that their driving had improved and matured significantly.
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Hold a full 60% no claims bonus...
on Insurance.  This may not be relevant in every country as Insurance requirements vary from place to place.  A 60% no claims bonus, basically means that a person has not been responsible for causing an accident in the last 4 years.  Of course, anyone can have an accident and you do not become a bad driver overnight, [just as you do not become a good one] but a Road Supervisor would need to show a good driving record, this is one criteria that could be used.  
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If their Insurance company considered them to be good enough to be granted the maximum discount then they at least, already consider them to be a 'good' driver.
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No points on the present licence.
Points systems also vary from place to place.  If a system is used of just 12 points, and a driver only loses points when fined and convicted of an offence, then it is common to have many drivers with no points on their licence. 

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No more than 4 points...
under a 100 point system.  Under this proposed system it would be more difficult to keep a completely clean licence, but by no means impossible.  This just allows a little bit of leeway, even the best drivers make the odd mistake, or occasionally upset a fellow road user.

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Passed a Road Supervisor's exam. 
Not something that should be difficult to achieve.  An exam would be necessary to ensure that everyone knew what was expected of them, and that they were aware of their Powers and Responsibilities.  They would need to know exactly what they could report and what they could not, [to a large extent this would be a matter of common sense.]  They would also need to know how to fill out all the necessary paperwork, how to access the Website, and where to find Information.  On a more practical level, they would need to know all the procedures for dealing with... breakdowns: accidents: fires: injuries: etc.
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Revoking status.  
Just because a driver had been initially accepted as a Road Supervisor it does not necessarily mean that they would be suitable for the job and there are any number of reasons why that status might be revoked.  The following are some examples...

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Reached 70th birthday... 
or whatever upper age limit had been set... if any?

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Convicted of a criminal offence...
and would no longer be considered of sufficient 'good character' to be a Road Supervisor.

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Convicted of a serious...  
motoring offence.  If convicted of a serious offence then a driver would not be considered qualified to tell others how they should be driving.  It would be necessary to define exactly what 'serious' was.  Once convicted the driver could not qualify to become a Road Supervisor again for at least 'ten'? years.

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Responsible for causing... 
an accident?  Drivers would need to show they had a 'good' driving record.  One mistake does not turn a good driver into a bad one overnight.  Insurance companies do not always take away a maximum 'no claims bonus' because of one claim, [especially for a minor 'prang'] when a driver has a good record over a long period.  So, if their Insurance company still considered them a good risk then that should be good enough, if they were down graded because of an accident, then they should lose their Road Supervisor status until they had worked their way up again.

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Have accumulated 10 points. 
This could result from a single conviction in Court, or a number of standard 'fines plus points' offences, being reported ten times by other Road Supervisors or any combination of these.  However it occurred, it would mean the driver was making too many mistakes! breaking too many rules! annoying too many people!  Ten points means they'd be no better than average and that would not be good enough.  Revoke Road Supervisor status, try again when the points are down to four or less.
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Making statements that are untrue. 
As with any power it is possible to abuse it and it is almost certain that some would.  Some people have a habit of embellishing or exaggerating what they see, others might make up complete lies, for any number of reasons.  Although difficult to prove, if caught doing so, then their status should be revoked.

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Reporting something...  
they did not see.  Road Supervisors should report only what they had witnessed first hand, not things they had been told about by friends or relatives.  Second hand information is unreliable and should never be used.

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Reporting someone they knew. 
This has to be an objective, arms length assessment of other drivers.  Reporting people you knew could cause all sorts of problems.  To avoid any conflict, drivers should not report anyone that they were even vaguely familiar with.  For similar reasons, Road Supervisors should not knowingly report any driver or vehicle more than once within a year, [it may inadvertently happen but software should be able to keep a check on this] that way no driver could be effectively 'targeted' by any individual or small group of people. 

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Making illegible statements. 
A major function of a Road Supervisor would be to become a supplier of 'high quality' Information, if they submitted reports that could not be understood by anyone else, then their reports would be of no value.  This could be because of poor writing or language skills, or if sending reports by post, poor handwriting.  How much time and effort should be spent bringing individual Road Supervisors up to the required standard is debateable, but however much leeway was given, if the task was not being completed satisfactorily then their status would eventually need to be revoked.

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Inaccurate statements. 
A Road Supervisor, like any driver, would be expected to know the rules of the road.  If, for example, a report was made about a Taxi, 'which was illegally stopping in a bus lane to pick up passengers' and it so happened, there was nothing illegal about it, the Taxi, in fact being perfectly within its rights to do this, then this would be an 'Inaccurate' statement.  Again, as with the last section, just how much leeway was given before any action was taken is open to debate, but a certain standard would need to be maintained.

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Reporting things 'specifically'...
told not to.  Although a great deal of discretion should be allowed as to what was reported, there are bound to be some guidelines and limitations.  There should be a section in the 'Road Supervisors' Handbook' covering things which [some drivers may find annoying, but] should not be reported.  While it should be possible to report any individual who was driving dangerously, a high degree of 'tolerance and understanding' should be shown towards certain drivers.  For instance, reporting learner drivers for being to slow or cautious, [everyone has to learn at some time] or 'working vehicles' which were going about their legitimate business.  [Any Road Supervisor reporting a 'Bus' because it had 'held them up', while stopping to pick up passengers, could very well find their status being revoked.] 
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Or, with 'Taxis'... it is quite common to see them stopping in awkward places, trying to make difficult U-turns or perform some other hazardous manoeuvre, regardless of where in the world they might be, [it's just something that is part of the job.]  So rather than being quick to report them, Road Supervisors should show a bit of 'tolerance and understanding', and if possible, actually assist them to make their manoeuvre in safety. 
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Road Supervisors should go out of their way to make life a little easier for others instead of more difficult... co-operation on the roads is better for everyone!
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Specials. 
'Information' could be gathered from a variety of sources apart from Road Supervisors: such as... the Police: speed cameras: video cameras: or 'Specials'.  'Specials', [who might also be Road Supervisors] would be individuals who were engaged in particular occupations and who were empowered to make limited reports on certain aspects of driving or road behaviour, which was relevant to those occupations.  
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The following are just a few examples...
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Emergency Services.
May be able to report vehicles which were unnecessarily impeding their progress... deliberately following in their wake... or parking in places reserved for their vehicles.
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Possibly... Road Supervisors could submit reports about Emergency vehicles which would not count as points... the purpose being simply to supply 'feedback' to senior Officers... to help them identify any potential problems there might be with particular drivers... and give them a chance to rectify the problems.
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Traffic Wardens...
[Parking Attendants: Meter Maids: etc.]  Those who are handing out tickets for... parking violations: wheel clamping: towing away vehicles: and the like.  A thankless task if ever there was one!  Rarely appreciated for keeping the roads clear and all to frequently verbally abused, or worse, just for doing their jobs.  The 'State' recruits individuals to perform a necessary task [it is not difficult to imagine what city streets would be like if everyone parked wherever they wanted!] and the 'State' should give their workers as much protection as possible.  It may be? this category were given the power to report drivers for... verbal abuse: harassment: intimidation: threatening behaviour: tearing up tickets: throwing them on the ground: or anything similar.  
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On the other hand... in some places the Authorities have sub-contracted this service out to private companies and the main priority of traffic wardens then becomes, simply to generate revenue for the company and the local Authority.  Traffic wardens are given targets and must issue a minimum number of fines per shift... hanging around vehicles waiting to issue a fine the moment their parking ticket runs out... any sense of 'providing a service' disappears and the inevitable result of this is a complete lack of support from the general public.
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July 2004: there are plans to introduce new 'Super Wardens' in London who will be able to report drivers for a whole range of moving offences which cause danger or inconvenience to other drivers [such as doing illegal U-turns: blocking intersections: etc.] and issue tickets which carry Fines of up to 100.  Even if this seemed like a good idea in theory you just know the practical application is going to be a complete mess.  These 'Super Wardens' will inevitably be given 'Targets'... drivers will end up being Fined for the smallest of mistakes... illegal drivers will get away with it... Public support will evaporate... and the whole exercise will just turn into yet another cynical money-making exercise.
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Bus Drivers. 
May be empowered to report drivers who illegally travel or stop in a bus lane.  Or those who stop, wait or park in a bus stop, causing the bus to double park? causing a hold up for other traffic? or a danger to their passengers?
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Post Office: [collection vehicles.]
May be able to report drivers for illegally parking in spaces next to Post Boxes, which have been specifically reserved for the Post Office collection vehicle.  The Post Office vehicle must stop to collect the post even if this means double parking and holding up other traffic so this activity needs to be discouraged.
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School Crossing Patrol.
Might report drivers for, 'failing to give way to pedestrians' when instructed to do so.  Could also include others who need to direct traffic because of road works, or similar.
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Training.  

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  • A 'Road Supervisors' Handbook'... should be issued which covered everything a driver needed to know in order to carry out the task of a Road Supervisor and an exam would ensure that the training had been completed to a satisfactory standard.
  • It should contain... a comprehensive section on 'Offences', [see section H, for details] what could be reported and the details required.
  • Filling in... all the 'paperwork', which may be done by post, or preferably, directly over the Internet: [speeding up the process as much as possible.]
  • Legal requirements... when should an accident be reported to the Police? what information should be exchanged between drivers after an accident? when should Police be called to the scene of an accident?
  • Procedures at a breakdown... or the scene of an accident: making sure there were no further injuries: assessing the scene: which emergency services to call: directing traffic: moving vehicles: clearing debris: exchanging information between drivers: etc.
  • First aid... this may be just a section on the theory, but preferably would mean attending a course and earning a proper First aid certificate, with a particular emphasise on 'Road Trauma' injuries. 
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Equipment.
When stopping to give assistance at a breakdown or accident it would be important that both Road Supervisors and their vehicles could be easily identified.  Vehicles could use a simple 'flag', with a magnetic base, stuck on the roof: [it could be placed in such a way as to notify other Road Supervisors, that further assistance was required.]  Road Supervisors might use some article of clothing, such as a 'florescent hat, armband or jacket'.  A 'fire extinguisher', and a 'first aid kit', [which are carried by many vehicles anyway.]  A 'reflective triangle', which could be placed in the road to warn oncoming vehicles of danger ahead, [already compulsory in some countries.]  A 'torch', in case of an accident at night.  A supply of 'standard forms', detailing all the information that needed to be noted or exchanged at the scene of an accident, [a lot of frustration could be avoided if all the necessary information was gathered at the time.]
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Powers.
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With some restrictions... Road Supervisors would be able to report other drivers for a whole range of offences which they had considered to be... 'Illegal: Dangerous: Inconsiderate: or Discourteous'.  Exactly how many reports could be made would vary depending on what proportion of drivers had become Road Supervisors.  They may choose to concentrate their reports on one particular type of offence, such as speeding past a local school.  They may co-ordinate their efforts with other parents or neighbours to tackle some problem in their area.  Out on the road [at a breakdown or accident] they would be able to 'Stop: Move on: or Re-direct' other vehicles.  They could become involved with organizing 'Branch Meetings', or complete the necessary training in order to sit on 'Review Panels'. 
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How much any individual became involved would be entirely their own affair... perhaps they would just make the odd report and that would be it... or maybe they would become very pro-active and become involved in every aspect of the system.
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Responsibilities.
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The main responsibilities of a Road Supervisor would be... to promote safety: be a good example: assist others: and supply 'high-quality' Information.
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Promote safety.
The ultimate goal is to create a safer environment on the nation's highways... nothing should come second to that.  A Road Supervisor should never compromise safety by doing such things as... racing after a speeding driver to try and catch their details: take their eyes off the road to write something down: become distracted by an incident: or to try and physically slow down a speeding driver by blocking their way. 
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It is our firm belief that very few experienced drivers would suddenly start making such basic errors of judgement as these.
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Be a good example... 
to all road users.  This is not something that is easy to achieve... it means a person must be self-motivated enough to work on their own Attitudes: to increase their Knowledge: and to improving their own Driving skills.  Setting a good example encourages others to do likewise... and for the more persistent offenders... the very presence of so many Road Supervisors may deter them from behaving to badly.
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Assist others...
whenever possible, and there are many opportunities to do this.  As a Road Supervisor... it should be remembered, when making out a report, the information and any comments should be of benefit to the person who actually committed the offence, [so as to help them 'fine tune' their driving skills] and to any other person who happened to read their File for some reason.  Anyone reading the reports should be able to clearly understand the nature of the problems... and with the help of some 'Educational' inserts, the offender should know exactly what would be required of them in the future. 
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On a daily basis... the opportunity arrives to assist others when out on the road, [this is something anyone could start working on right away.]  To give one common example... you are moving at crawling pace on a city street, a vehicle is trying to join the traffic from a side road or driveway.  [There are no gaps in the traffic, so the vehicle cannot get on to the main road unless someone lets them in.]  Do you let them in? or do you tend to avoid eye contact and slowly inch your way past?  Of course... we would all like to be let out at the earliest possible opportunity, but how we treat others and how we would like to be treated ourselves, are often two entirely different things.
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As a Road Supervisor... there would probably be the odd occasion when you would come across a person in need of assistance, possibly because of a breakdown or a minor accident, but would you be prepared to stop and become involved in someone else's problem? or would you just look the other way and drive on by?  [Of course, there are also personal safety issues to be taken into consideration, when deciding who stops to help and under what circumstances.] 
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Are we suggesting that a woman on her own should stop and help two men stuck on a dark, lonely road, late at night? No Way!! but take the licence number, quick ring to the local Police just to make them aware of the situation? Maybe!
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Supply 'high-quality' Information.
Reports would be made for the benefit of others... any number of people could be accessing this Information in the future... for a whole variety of reasons, [the Offender: Family: Employers: Insurance companies: Driving instructors: Review Panels: the Police: the Courts: etc.]  So, the standard of reports should be maintained at a consistently high level, which means they should be... Clear: Accurate: Objective: Unbiased: and Informative.  
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The Bottom Line is...  
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just filling out a 'Report' could be a a fairly cathartic exercise.  Although the intention is to assist other drivers... and 'Reports' should be expressed with this sentiment... it would probably be unrealistic not to expect a few negative thoughts towards some 'maniac' that nearly killed you! 
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Back to the Top Home Site Plan Outline>>

Road Supervisors

Senior Road Supervisors  

New Points System

Licences.  

Files. 

Social Pressure

Review Panels

Offences.

Information: Data.