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ZRP can benefit from smart videos & cameras

18 Aug 2023 at 21:22hrs | Views
The ZRP has a department called the National Traffic whose sole responsibility is ensuring everyone using the road follows the rules to save lives and protect property. They are supposed to reinforce these rules by ensuring that all drivers abide by traffic laws and pedestrians use the road safely. Yet in Zimbabwe, reckless behavior behind the wheel is happening everywhere and drivers are taking notice of other people's wild actions and are now adopting the same habits and the process continues..

Taking care of ever-increasing and complex traffic situations is a challenge for many of Zimbabwe's major cities, especially Harare.  Zimbabwe's rising car ownership and urban sprawl continue to put pressure on our roads, leading to some worrying trends. The Harare city centre should now be considered the world's most dangerous city and how our Harare drivers are meandering in our streets. The role of the police is to arrest law breakers and they are not arresting traffic offenders as per your job description. Are our government printer's still printing traffic tickets? The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is the only police force in the world that is not punishing traffic offenders or issuing traffic offence tickets and allowing traffic violators to walk scott-free. Zimbabweans are driving through red traffic lights, driving in one way streets opposing traffic and driving towards on-coming traffic on the wrong side of the road and nothing happens to them.

Above that we should however, say thank you to smart and intelligent video solutions that are being used the world over, our government, law enforcement agencies and citizens can address these driving-associated stressors head on. Today's advancement in technology provides Artificial intelligence (AI) powered smart video cameras that can enforce speed limits, safer driving at intersections, emergency response, alleviating traffic congestion and record bad drivers and traffic offenders.

Statistics clearly state that most parliamentarians do not possess driver's licences and they are prepared to allow the carnage on our roads to continue because they are also traffic violators. ZBC licensing and ZiNARA are doing what they are mandated to do. ZiNARA has put together a brilliant vehicle regcontion system that identifies if a vehicle is registered, insured and is legally on the road. No one will pass through Zimbabwe's toll gate if the three are not in order.  Why not our Zimbabwe Republic Police? What is the problem? Do you have something to hide? Why are we allowing  traffic law beakers to break the law without penalties without punishing them. Making Zimbabwe the only country in the world that allows drivers to break the law without paying hefty fines.

We need traffic officers on our roads backed up with smart video cameras. Smart video cameras can be set up at roadsides to record the speed of vehicles and keep speeding under control. These cameras ensure that drivers keep within permitted speed limits, making traffic safer and reducing the possibility of road accidents. Using radar technology, smart video cameras can calculate the average speed between two points along the road or at the location of a camera. The speed data is associated with each detected licence, and sent to traffic units who can respond immediately. In other cases, the licence plate number of a speed-violating vehicle is registered, and several weeks later the license plate holder will receive a fine by mail or by SMS on their cellular phone.

Intersections are often scenes of collision owing to driver negligence and recklessness, which is why it is an important location to be considered for smart video solutions. Modern technology makes it possible to monitor driving behaviour in real time. This includes drivers driving through red traffic lights, making a U-turn in the middle of the intersection, travelling the wrong way, or using the shoulder to bypass traffic.

With modern technology there has to be a technological connection between law enforcement agencies, emergency response service providers and paramedics. The sooner emergency responders arrive at the scene of an accident, the lower the risk of fatalities. Smart videos have an automatic incident detection delivery system which allows for rapid response to emergencies, whether motorists require the police, fire service, or paramedics. By analysing live video streams, information about accidents and traffic violations can be obtained in real time and flagged via  an instant alert to the city's traffic control centre so that help can be dispatched.

There are now 1,5 million vehicles that traverse the streets of Harare's central business district on a daily basis according to information availed by the Central Registry Vehicle. The road network for Harare was built for only a maximum of 200,000 vehicles and the city is now prone to constant traffic congestion and unnecessary jams. With smart Video analytics provided these can help identify roads and locations where congestion is most likely to occur. This helps city authorities determine if the area would benefit from traffic management schemes. Vehicles are counted and classified in real time and the data is compiled into heat maps and dashboards so that cities can take practical steps toward traffic relief.

As long as there are bad drivers, car accidents, traffic congestion, and risky driving behaviours, there is room to improve road conditions. Smart video cameras, combined with intelligent analytics, can allow our law enforcement agencies and citizens to make rapid advancements toward a safer and better driving experience for motorists. By having ticket issuing traffic officers on our roads we will bring sanity on Zimbabwe's road.

Source - Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi
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