In India, using Facebook to catch thoughtless drivers

“Vehicle overloaded with goods and passengers”

Delhi – This city is famous for its snarled traffic and infamous for its unruly drivers — aggressive rule-breakers who barrel through red lights, ignore crosswalks and veer into bicycle or bus lanes to find open routes.

Now, the city’s overburdened traffic police officers have enlisted an unexpected weapon in the fight against dangerous driving: Facebook.

The traffic police started a Facebook page two months ago, and almost immediately residents became digital informants, posting photos of their fellow drivers violating traffic laws. As of Sunday more than 17,000 people had become fans of the page and posted almost 3,000 photographs and dozens of videos.

The online rap sheet was impressive. There are photos of people on motorcycles without helmets, cars stopped in crosswalks, drivers on cellphones, drivers in the middle of illegal turns and improperly parked vehicles.

Using the pictures, the Delhi Traffic Police have issued 665 tickets, using the license plate numbers shown in the photos to track vehicle owners, said the city’s joint commissioner of traffic, Satyendra Garg.

Despite some concerns about privacy, and the authenticity of the photos, the public’s response has been overwhelmingly positive, he said…

Mr. Garg acknowledged that it was possible photos could be manipulated to incriminate someone who was not actually breaking the law. But, he said, drivers can contest the tickets if they think they were wrongly issued. The police advise residents not to let personal animosity influence their photo-taking, and not to do anything to compromise their own security, like antagonizing law-breakers while snapping photos.

I love it. American society is so afraid someone’s privacy might be compromised, say, versus catching some SOB who just ran a red light and almost killed six kids – red light cameras are becoming illegal.

The nearest city to Lot 4 has a photo van which cost $50K – which they park by the side of the road in different trouble spots every day – after they notify the local press where it will be.

Delhi has the equivalent of dozens of photo vans for the cost of a couple of coppers taking a few minutes to check their Facebook page, every day.

4 thoughts on “In India, using Facebook to catch thoughtless drivers

  1. honorarynewfie says:

    Red light cameras becoming illegal ? Huh ?
    I detest the proliferation of cameras everywhere, but those are the only ones that I would personally install !
    Surely there has to come a point where “someone’s privacy” takes second place to common sense… doesn’t there ?

  2. Stacey says:

    Sorry, darlin, but we don’t trust a for profit corporation to do the job of law enforcement. No government agency or police department has ever calibrated the equipment these companies are using.

    In Italy, the camera companies and government officials were caught ticketing those who weren’t speeding – 17 million worth of tickets.

    In America, more than ten cities have been caught shortening yellow light times to increase profits.

  3. wok3 says:

    Stacey is right, the red-light cameras are a for-profit operation in agreement with local cities, so while privacy concerns are one thing, highway robbery is something we just might want to look out for.

    Would be curious to know how people would fight these facebook tickets, because people say you can contest a parking ticket as well in the U.S., but that rarely works out to be a fair trial.

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