Camera justice: Get paid for filming law-breaking drivers in the act

Now that every man, woman and child seems to have their own smartphone, why don’t we help prosecute dangerous drivers by paying a bounty to those who catch them in the act?

After all, our police is overstretched and crimes such as driving while using a mobile phone have become endemic. The law on mobile phone offences is being tightened this week to close loopholes, but detection of the crime remains a challenge.

If we paid a bounty to anyone who provided phone footage of a driver using a phone illegally it’s hard to imagine it not having a positive effect on offending rates. It’s a model that’s already seeing results in America.

New York pays bounty to those filming law-breaking drivers in the act

In a bid to reduce dangerous pollution, New York has a Citizens Air Complaint Program that pays people to report lorries that are parked and idling for more than three minutes, or one minute if outside a school.

Those who successfully report a lorry in this way receive 25 per cent of any fine – typically $87, which works out at about £66. The city received more than 12,000 submissions last year, with one man claiming to have netted over $64,000 in rewards.

Camera evidence: There are those who criticise the reporting of drivers in this way, but from a moral perspective is it any different from filming a burglar and handing the footage to the police? 

Cleaner and safer roads benefit everyone, however they travel. Are you for or against the idea of paying a bounty to those who report law-breaking motorists?

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  1. Robert


    So here’s an idea.

    There should be a number to which anyone who seens an instance of bad driving can text the vehicle registration.

    If there are more than a couple of messages referring to the same registration number within a couple of minutes, then the senders are probably all witnesses to an instance of bad driving. The police can contact them and decide what further action to take.

    Otherwise? Well, nobody is perfect, so we can expect “everyone” to attract the odd complaint. So just count them. Then the police can have a friendly word with those who are getting a more than average number of complaints about their vehicle. And each year make the number of complaints about each vehicle available to insurance companies…

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