Citizens can control vehicle speeding even without police cooperation
There are 2 scenarios:
1. People have access to high quality SLR-type digital cameras with video facility, or to video cameras with sufficient resolution.
2. People only have access to normal mobile phones typically with 2-3 Megapixle cameras and no optical zoom.
For scenario (1) above, the process is simple – shoot a video of the vehicle(s) from the side of the road or some distance from the side of the road, with the second and 1/100th second counter showing on the screen (and on the video). By shooting against familiar and measurable landmarks (especially lamp-posts), between which distance is known and/or can be measured, then average speed can be computed.
For scenario (2) above, 2 persons with 2 cameras are required, shooting still photos as close together time-wise as the camera will allow – e.g. every 2-4 seconds. The file naming system on the camera ideally includes the time taken – to the 1/100th of a second. The people must be a measured distance apart and that distance must be verifiable by police or prosecutors.
The videos and stills should ideally be played back on a computer with a minimum 17 inch screen, so that the number plate can be read.
Ideally, the video or stills show the date and time as well as the location. If that facility does not exist then possibly a newspaper front page from the day or shooting can be shot (in the video and/or stills) to indicate that the video was taken on or after (and not before) that date.
This 2-camera technique can also be used over long-distance speeding – e.g. between cities. Although if someone speeds and takes a long rest break then usually the speeding will not show up.
These techniques can be used to counter dangerous and irresponsible driving. Even if the police are disinterested and uncooperative, then citizens can submit photo evidence to police, justice, and/or political representatives until some justice is meted out and/or the behaviour stops or is ameliorated (or until the citizen activists are intimidated or worse).
Alex Weir, Gaborone, Botswana, Thursday 7 July 2011