THE EDITOR: Recently a friend and I were discussing the new red light enforcement system that the Ministry of Works and Transport is bringing into full force. From what I’ve read, cameras will be placed at strategic intersections to take pictures of vehicles that run the red light.
Therefore, a police officer does not have to be present to observe a violation and issue a ticket. I think that alone is progress. Congratulations to our leaders for using high-tech media to automate the detection of negligent behaviour. Now the police can be used in areas where their actual presence would be more needed.
Also, what I found particularly interesting is the fact that the changes to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act would put the onus of the violation on the person in whose name the vehicle is registered. The current law charges the driver. But I think the new mode of enforcement will certainly help with the intent toward behaviour change.
Right now, if I continually lend my vehicle to my reckless friend who runs red lights and he is continually charged, the charges do not really affect me. But if I find myself implicated in the offence of reckless driving, I would certainly put pressure on him to drive safely.
So in a way, the new additions to the law give power to registered owners to enforce road safety. It is not solely the responsibility of the police anymore.
While people may be resistant to an authority blaming and shaming them, they may be more compelled to change out of the basic human need to save face among family and friends. Clever.
JOAN TAYLOR via e-mail