Anonymous vs Saher
Jeddah  Saudi Arabia
Occurred: 2017-05-23; Posted: 2017-05-23

Entrapping Locations of Speed Detection Cameras
Saher is an automated system for control and management of traffic. It uses high speed digital cameras and networking technology and is linked to the National Information Center at the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia. Saher system targets and captures information about reckless drivers who are dangerous to the safety of others and their own lives.

While Saher system has played a major role in controlling the recklessness of drivers on Saudi Roads, and saving numerous lives, I find it necessary to point out the difference between reformative control and entrapping. In many countries, Police and Governments have been accused of "Big Brother tactics" in over-monitoring of public roads, and of "revenue raising" in applying cameras in deceptive ways to increase government revenue rather than improve road safety. I have the following examples and suggestions;

1. Installing a speed detection camera right after an entry lane is not a good idea. Drivers need to accelerate in the entry lane to meet the speed of traffic on the highway so that they do not disturb the highway traffic and do not force other drivers to perform sudden and dangerous lane changes. In the same way if someone is not merging at the required speed, the highway traffic has to speed up or slow down to accommodate the new entrant. All these maneuvers at the merging point require increasing speeds to avoid accidents for a few seconds sometimes. Installing as camera right at the the merging point seems like entrapping.

2. There are areas where the speed limits are posted to be increasing from a slower to faster speed. Installing a camera in such areas where drivers are about to be allowed to increase their speeds seems like entrapping or unfair. It is understandable to install cameras where drivers are required to reduce speeds but not where they are required to increase speeds.

3. Installing speed cameras at intersections is inappropriate. Pictures from the San Diego red light camera systems were ruled inadmissible as court evidence in September 2001. The judge said that the "total lack of oversight" and "method of compensation" made evidence from the cameras "so untrustworthy and unreliable that it should not be admitted". Drivers need to speed up if they are caught in the middle of the intersection due to traffic blocks or when they are unable to dead stop due green turning to amber in the middle of intersection.

4. Cameras have tolerances in one direction only. Normally 5% above the posted speed is not penalized and caters to probable mistakes in accuracy. Cameras do not penalize drivers going slower by 10% or even 50% than the posted speed. This sometimes causes other drivers to speed up and pass the trouble maker.

Lack of Due Diligence
Financial Losses

The Interior Ministry has launched a new online service that will allow citizens and expatriates to check if they have fines recorded under the Saher system and raise objections if they have any. The ministry said objections must be in line with specific requirements and guidelines, including that the person lodging the appeal should be registered on its website. In addition, objections should be filed within 30 days of the date of the traffic offense.

Driving is not just about speeds or speed limits. Be safe and be alert. Be courteous and accommodating. Traffic rules require "giving" not "taking". Always be aware of who is around you and at what speed, relative to yours, are they moving, passing, stopping or slowing down.

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