New website allows motorists to report bad driving

13.23 | 5 April 2011 | | 42 comments

A website where motorists can file ‘incident reports’ against other drivers has been launched.

The aim of the new website, called ‘RoadDriver’, is to help reduce road accidents through driver monitoring, awareness and education schemes. The website, produced by RoadDriver Ltd, also offers safety tips and advice for drivers.

People can use the site to check if any reports have been filed against a vehicle, or alternatively they can file a report themselves. RoadDrivers says that the purpose of the licence plate reporting service is to bring to a driver’s attention their poor driving behaviour and attitude as witnessed by fellow drivers.

According to the website, research shows if drivers are aware that their thoughtless or dangerous driving habits could be reported, they make significant efforts to improve their driving.

RoadDriver adds that the reporting service is not a substitute for the police, and if a road traffic offence has been committed this should be reported to the police.

Click here to view the website.

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    I detest slow drivers, they go 5-10 miles under the speed limit, it hinders traffic, backs up our roads and when we have to pass them we lose momentum and that causes wrecks. I hate drivers that try to speed up when you pass them, it’s like go the speed limit and I won’t have to pass you! And drivers that text and drive or use their phone while they are driving, they should have their license revoked!


    Jacque Fayetteville
    Agree (2) | Disagree (11)
    --9

    I had to call the police to remove a car from my drive entrance. The driver of said car even argues with the police that she wouldn’t move it. They told her they would have it removed so she moved it. It was not taxed or insured but the police didn’t even check, again……and the driver later went on to hit several cars in Aug 11th and 13/14th.


    Barb. Stoke on Trent
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    So who is going to judge the standards of the people reporting other people. This is horrible and decisive idea. The only people who should be able to investigate and judge drivers are the police. If these complaints were only visible to the police the it would not be half as bad an idea.


    Tony
    Agree (2) | Disagree (5)
    --3

    Who’s to say that the posters version of events is the correct one? You only get one side of the story and it’s a biased one. What if the person posting a complaint is actually in the wrong, but is so convinced that they are in the right? The only people who should make judgements in things like this are the police.


    Kev,Portsmouth
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    I need, to bring some attention to drivers that take no notice of pedestrian crossings, I work in Welling (in kent) outside our shop is a raised zebera crossing, cars do not slow down or even stop as a person is crossing, we used to have a lollipop lady until she got hit by a car and carried 100 yards along the road, I have seen people halfway across get hit by cars, they have driven both sides of people on the crossing, who can I repot this too who will actually take action !?


    Russell Buchanan
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    Waste of time reporting bad drivers when the police do nothing or require you to go to court when you have supplied footage of high quality.


    Andy South East
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    --2

    Well I just came across a site with a similar idea to this: http://roadshamer.com
    Basically it’s like a Youtube site where users upload videos and photos of bad drivers, so you’re naming and shaming bad drivers with proper proof and it’s not just heresay. This leads to more people actually viewing the footage (causes bad drivers to prefer not appearing there) and helps demonstrate exactly what the driver did.


    Roger G. London
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    Excellent idea! Something needs to be done about our bad drivers on our roads, and it is getting worse by the day! Being a professional driver and on the road most of the time. I see a lot of stupid mistakes/irresponsible driving. So would gladly help this cause. But to be honest, I think the problem is lack of awareness and poor instruction, so therefore the use of the roads need to be taught at an earlier age. Nursery school even. Because the problems aren’t just with motorist. Pedestrians, cyclists and bus users need to be made aware of the problems that they can cause with their behaviour. Ie people, cyclists and cars going across the path of large vehicles at short distance, I’m not sure but I think they assume that larger vehicles are slower. Which can be true, but because they are bigger it takes longer for them to slow down! And it’s very likely on a bus there may be standing passengers! Anyone that does go across a buses path will cause the drive to brake hard and cause those passengers to fall over! Or car drivers tailgating motorcyclist unaware of the dangers they face on two wheels. Yeah two wheels, they go over something slippery in the road ie oil or squashed animal those two wheels will be over right in front of you, will you have enough time to stop? I could go on and on, but I won’t because a lot of it is down to common sense, which some people don’t possess, that isn’t there fault. Not all brains function the same. These people need things pointed our to them, the reasons why you shouldn’t do certain things. It’s also people with no common sense that struggle with the highway code.


    Mikki Devon
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    +3

    I agree with this site, its a good idea, and yes it could be used as a vendetta site, however I have a crash cam recording in my vehicle, so I have video evidence of bad driving, when I report it. There is no way a person’s word is all that should be used for reporting drivers, it should be backed up with video evidence.


    Marky B, Bradford, West Yorkshire
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    +1

    I think this site is a brilliant idea. Hopefully, some action will be taken againist any drivers who are reported on here multiple times. I experienced a road raged driver this morning. She was driving a white people carrier (multiple scratches on the car too!) She pulled out of a school and refused to stop although the cars were on her side. Unfortunately, I had no where to go so came to stop and she pinned me between the curb and her car. She shouted abuse about me being in the wrong and said I should’ve stopped as I saw her coming. She hit my wing mirror as she drove off and was doing well over 30 outside a school! Makes me laugh, as she had a child in the back who’s probably going to grow up thinking that behaviour is acceptable.


    Charlotte, Portsmouth
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    I am sorry but to some extent I think this is not a good idea, this could be used as a vendetta site, to make someone look bad who is disliked by a person.


    Shaun
    Agree (0) | Disagree (2)
    --2

    It is about time cyclists got a number plate as now cyclists know they can get away with showing no respect for the road rules and other road users and riding in a very dangerous manner like run the red, as there is nothing to be able to ID them, especially West End Brisbane even those they are legal road users riding a legal road vehicle.


    Oz Brisbane
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    I like the idea of this website for reporting drivers. I decided to google how to report dangerous driving after suffering a road rage driver today, tailgating me on a dual carriageway and nearly swerving into me before speeding off. I didn’t get his number plate but I know now to make sure I do if an incident like this happens again. I totally disagree with some drivers’ bullying tactics. I’m against bullying and see it no different to bullying in a workplace or at school etc. At least now there is someway to report them. Many thanks.


    Steve, Norwich
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    I was on the M4 west bound at 5-30pm when I passed junction 45 and this crazy person nearly caused a massive pile up due to his inconsiderate manoeuvring and negligent nature. He was driving a scruffy blue volvo 4×4 reg – it was blowing out clouds of black smoke and nearly caused me to veer out of my lane.


    Swansea
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    0

    My partner and I were on our way home last night and this woman tried to cut us up even though there was no traffic behind us. Nearly took our wing off, then started tailgating us, any closer she would have been on the back seat. Then she would drop back and then right up behind us again. My partner moved into the next lane but she dropped back, so he moved out again and she came up again doing the same. My partner had cause to brake, luckily was when she had gone back a bit. Then we moved to the other lane, again this time she did pass us a white 13 plate Quashquai, we then watched her do exactly the same thing to a Fiesta further up the road.


    Jackie Devon
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    Im so glad to see someone has taken it upon themselves to set up a site where other [considerate] drivers can leave posts regarding the attitude of bad drivers both for themselves to see and to inform other road users of what drivers/vehicals to be aware of on their travels. I have reported many drivers to the police usually for tailgateing whitch I think is one of the most dangerous things any driver can do on the road, but got told only lately that unless I give statements,and other drivers report the same driver/vehicles the police do nothing about the complaints. In other words unless a driver is reported with statements on numerouse occasions then they are free to drive anyway they want. I hope this site proves a help to drivers to encourage them to be better drivers, and for the good drivers out there to know who the bad ones are.


    j.bissett fife.
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    The unfortunate things with sites like this – and there are/have been many of them – is most people are not really qualified to evaluate what bad driving is.

    For example, you see dozens of drivers pottering along at 20 mph or less every day who will come on here and swear they are safe because of the way they drive and will report and slate anybody who dares to go over the speed limit, but themselves never check their mirror, take the right lane or position at a junction, never signal and make all manner of potentially dangerous errors themselves.

    Another general example can be seen by parking. How often have you seen people, women in particular, in supermarket car parks take three or four attempts to get into a parking bay with a tiny hatchback? Or struggle to parallel park? Many of these people are the type who don’t know whose right of way it is at a mini roundabout, how to position their car for a right turn and so on, sit in the right hand lanes on dual carriageways and motorways but will never be reported for “bad driving”.

    It also lends itself to people reporting other people they simply don’t like, or who have made one error of judgement as we all do from time to time and tars them with the same brush. There’s a reason things like this are left to the police to deal with.


    Mark Hetherington
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    Excellent idea. We can take this idea further. Individuals who incur too many complaints from road users should be penalised in some form. Individuals who have no complaints for a number of years should be given a certificate of commendation and could pass this on with their vehicle if sold, as proof of safety. Overall an excellent scheme.


    Osman Saffah, Birmingham
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    I was coming home when a woman in a small black car suddenly filled my rear view mirror. She was doing well in excess of the 30mph. I got her number, she overtook me and speeded up again. I take it she was late in picking up her children from school as they finished 12:30 this happened at 12:33. I wonder if she ever thought that driving like might one day make her never able to pick up her kids again? I do the speed limits, I don’t agree with all of them but they are law.


    Alison cairns, Pitcairn avenue.
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    I myelf am about to launch a similar program. Mine will have an affect on bad drivers and in a lot of cases my program will take bad drivers off the road. At this point I won’t say how we will do that but mark my words it will happen.


    David Elliott from Northumberland
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    Dear Jeremy
    My apologies for not answering your two reasonable and valid points.
    Firstly, the RoadDriver website does not have the advantage or the space of an academic forum to explain fully the concept of Behaviour Modification, therefore, the term “Hawthorne Effect” was used to describe the change in a driver’s behaviour anticipated by our public monitoring system.

    Hawthorne effect
    For those unfamiliar with the term, The Hawthorne Effect is believed to have been first described by psychology researcher Henry Landsberger in the fifties when he analysed work done decades earlier by Professor Elton Mayo at Western Electric’s Hawthorn Works near Chicago.

    The results of this analysis has become known as the Hawthorne Effect – people who are being studied improve their performance simply because they are being studied; someone is measuring them, assessing them, taking an interest in them, or otherwise giving them unusual attention, and it makes them change their behaviour.

    In recent years Elton Mayo’s statistical analysis and empirical practices have been brought into question with as many psychologists and sociologists in agreement with his findings as against, but most accept, that if you monitor someone and they know they are being or have been monitored their behaviour changes.

    I believe that this conclusion by most psychologists and sociologists justifies our use of the term “Hawthorne Effect”. To further substantiate this view, I refer to your own comments and analysis of the “Well Driven” and “How’s my Driving Schemes” to which I referred to in my reply to Roy Buchanan. You imply that these schemes have merit primarily as the driver participating in the scheme is aware that he is being monitored and to quote – crucial point – would have been often accompanied by advice and guidance on improvement where a case was thought to exist. In this respect these schemes are more akin to the controlled nature of the Hawthorne studies but remain lacking in the RoadDriver approach.

    I respectfully point out to you on our home page under “Safety Schemes” RoadDriver does offer alternative Driver Monitoring Schemes to businesses and to parents of Young Drivers that contain all the elements that you refer to in your analysis of the “Well Driven and “How’s my Driving” monitoring schemes, namely the drivers know they are being monitored and receive advice and guidance on improvement from their company or parent.

    The term Hawthorne Effect has been used to explain many areas of change in human behaviour particularly where the empirical evidence is lacking or contradictory including a placebo effect but for those interested in the “Hawthorne Effect” and its validity, I believe one of the best analyses of this theory and possibly our justification in using the term was written by a young under graduate at the Wesleyan University – Unravelling the Hawthorne Effect: An Experimental Artefact ‘Too Good to Die’ by Rebecca Spain Broches.

    Jeremy, your point about not naming the two psychologists, both these gentleman expressed their opinion in private communication. As they were not putting forth their opinion in a public academic paper, I thought it right and proper not to include the source. However, if you doubt the veracity of these statements please contact me via the websites contact page and I shall furnish you copies of our communication.

    I fully appreciate that the public monitoring and reporting section of our website will be of no value to those drivers who are unaware of an incident reports existence, which is why we are endeavouring to publicise the site to as many people and as quickly as possible.

    I hope I have answered your questions


    Charles Dunn RoadDriver
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    Aside from most of the comments on here I think the main issue with this scheme is that those drivers who are most likely to be ‘reported’ for inconsiderate or thoughtless driving are those least likely to log on and look or indeed care that they’ve caused distress or danger to someone else on the roads, and that is the issue that needs dealing with.


    Dave, Leeds
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    Well this one has run, hasn’t it? Whilst I have no doubt that Charles and his company have launched this site with the very best of intentions and hope to improve road safety as a result, I would like to make some observations. They are no more than that – I draw no conclusions from them and I find some merit in each of the comments so far.

    Over the years I have known of many road users making reports to the police about another road user’s behaviour. Upon investigation it was shown that the person making the report had misinterpreted the rules of the road or traffic law and were themselves at fault. In two such cases the person was actually prosecuted.

    I know of a lorry driver, in North London, who was reported on the “How’s My Driving” scheme for, “driving so slow as to cause major congestion”. When his transport manager checked his tachograph he had been doing exactly 30 mph.

    I am wondering how long it will be before someone who is reported on the site and can prove no wrongdoing will decide to take legal action against the reporter or even the site operator.

    There is another similar site on the internet that is not monitored well and is subject to the most appalling abuse. Please Charles, keep this one under control.


    David Clark
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    0

    Clearly some new use of the word semantics with which I’m unfamiliar.

    Actually I’m a little disappointed not to have either of my (I think very reasonable) requests addressed. I take no small interest in the evidence behind an intervention and I’m genuinely keen to understand the evidence base behind new initiatives. I was pleased to see that RealDriver quoted academic sources and referenced a study to support the premise of the service. It remains usual to quote the source though – so still waiting on that – and I happen to question the evidence base provided. That doesn’t mean I want a verbal brawl, it means I’d like a response to a legitimate query. In fairness I think referencing Well Driven? etc was in part a response though I’d be forced to point out that if they are part of the evidence base then RealDriver needs to refer to my original point. Well Driven? and How’s My Driving were conducted in controlled environments – they were organisation driven, monitored and policed; vehicles were often in full livery; by definition they carried a livery of sorts by having the campaign sticker on the rear with contact details (so the driver is aware of being monitored) and an efficient communications system behind the campaign meant that feedback was quick, targeted to the driver and – crucial point – would have been often accompanied by advice and guidance on improvement where a case was thought to exist. In this respect these schemes are more akin to the controlled nature of the Hawthorne studies but remain lacking in the RealDriver approach.

    If anyone doubts the profession’s willingness to engage with new ideas (domestic and offshore) and look at the evidence behind them perhaps a visit to the Road Safety Knowledge Centre would be helpful. It’s testimony to our willingness to engage fully with others and learn from them. Naturally that often leads to debate as ideas are challenged and new ideas are forged. I’d therefore consider it a professional courtesy to have a legitimate and interested enquiry answered.

    Thanks in anticipation.


    Jeremy Phillips
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    Dear Roy
    I think we will just have to agree to disagree, but thanks for the wine recommendation.


    Charles Dunn RoadDriver
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    Charles,

    You would have nothing to fear from meeting a member of the Carabineros de Chile in the dark unless you had something to hide. Unlike many Latin-American Police Forces, they are virtually incoruptible and very strict. They are described by the Chilean people as “one of our finest institutions”.

    As for the British Police; I too am proud of them, I served for nearly 34 years and, during my time as a front line police motorcyclist experienced, at first hand, over 6,000 road accidents so, do not need to be reminded about the statistics I have worked with for 44 years. And by the way, I think you will find that the deaths on the roads in 2009(last figs available)were well under 3000 not over. 2,222 to be exact and all were needless, not “many”.

    The “How’s My Driving” and RoadDriver are different therefore comparison is invalid.

    Roads Policing in the UK, certainly in London, is a pale shadow of what it once was and is believed to be a significant factor in the deterioration. International research indicates that law enforcement is the major contributor to road safety.

    It is a misconception that road safety professionals “baulk at any private safety initiative”, this remark is simply not true.

    Please may I recommend you don’t go to Chile, there is no call there for RoadDriver but you will enjoy the superb wine. The Casillero del Diablo label is one to look out for.


    Roy Buchanan, Sutton
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    Dear Wendy
    Thank you for your contribution, although we do encourage motorists to compliment drivers in other areas of the website, this was wholly under represented on our home page. We have now rectified this and whole heartedly agree a pat on the back goes a long way.


    Charles Dunn RoadDriver
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    I am no expert and you can deport me to Chile if you like, but wouldn’t the vast majority of those using monitoring schemes by the Freight Transport Association, also have tachographs and such in their cabs. The factual evidence provided by the tachograph or video monitoring would be the meat to the bones of any phone or e-mail complaint (therefore mitigating malicious complaints and making drivers act more responsibly). I just thing before Big Brother goes forth and multiplies that we should have a more effective approach to making drivers more accountable on a day to day basis. The idea might be genuine but undoubtedly it will be abused to the overall detriment of what the website aims to achieve.


    Edward
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    I agree with the comments already posted on here. This leaves motorists at risk of having complaints logged about their vehicle without even being aware of it or able to defend themselves. Where is the justice in that?

    We all make mistakes from time to time. Imagine priding yourself on being a good, safe, considerate driver, and the one time you make a mistake, (which we all do) you get your licence plate named and shamed on the internet!

    I would suggest to Road Driver that instead of negative reporting we encourage motorists to leave positive feedback about the good things witnessed on the roads. These incidents are much fewer and far between, but how nice would it be to receive a pat on the back for a change?


    Wendy, Kent
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    I’m rather disappointed although not surprised by some of the responses to the launch of RoadDriver. Roy Buchanan believes to improve road safety we should look to Chile for guidance on policing, personally I’m rather proud of the job our British Police do. I’m sure most people given the choice would rather meet a British Police Officer in the dark than a Chilean Carabinero or Carabineer.
    It is very interesting that some road safety professionals’ baulk at any private safety initiative, Roy Buchanan calls RoadDriver a well-intended but half-baked initiative; others get tied up in semantics over the wisdom or value of referring to or comparing the Hawthorne Effect in relation to the ability to alter or sustain a change in driver behaviour.
    May I remind you that the “Well Driven” and “How’s my Driving” monitoring schemes which are run by the respected Freight Transport Association and the Association of British Insurers respectively, have been operating public driver monitoring schemes successfully for many years. It would appear that the CEO’s of the two largest companies in Britain, namely Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s believe that a public driver monitoring service does contribute to road safety.
    Debate and criticism is healthy and proper, but I would respectfully point out to all road safety officers and those who work in the road safety industry, over 3000 people died and countless thousands were injured, many needlessly last year.
    Those in the industry must take some responsibility for being ineffectual in stopping or preventing these deaths and injuries or are you just going to blame inadequate policing of our roads or the judicial system.
    I accept that no public reporting system will be perfect and abuse free, but through RoadDriver, I will do my best to remind individual drivers of their responsibility to drive within set speed limits and in an appropriate manner, otherwise maybe we should all move to Chile.


    Charles Dunn, RoadDriver
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    With the exception of Jeremy’s academic contribution, there is a theme running through the others and expressed rather frighteningly by Honor Byford, Phil and Terry Beale. It is the courts who have the right “to hold drivers accountable for their behaviour” not a private company on, what some will interpret as, a witch-hunt. Those who bring alleged offenders before the courts are law enforcement officers. (police, customs & exise officers, immigration officers, UK Border Agency officers) I agree with Phil, this is “a truly awful idea”, hence I can only repeat my earlier request, let us cure the source of the smell rather than masking it with deodorant.


    Roy Buchanan, Sutton
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    This will be a nice little earner for all those “no win, no fee” solicitors when all the complaints mount up.


    Andrea Johnson, Birmingham City Council
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    Terry Beale I agree with you completely. Even in the unlikely event that the person who has had the report against them sees the information and puts forward their view of events, it is still a permanent record on the internet of an accusation that no-one has any way of proving one way or the other. Also what happens when a vehicle is sold? Are all accusations/ reports immediately withdrawn from the database and website as obviously they no longer apply to that vehicle owner. Also what about vehicles with more than one driver. A husband and wife or parent and son/ daughter may have very different driving abilities or regard for other motorists. Are all potential drivers of that vehicle tarred with the same brush? Could people who drive for their work risk disciplinary action for unsubstantiated accusations. This is a truly awful idea which will never take off because it has too many flaws.


    Phil, East Midlands
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    I’m interested in hearing more about the site’s use of the Hawthorne Effect to justify its approach. Also, perhaps RoadDriver could publish the names of the ”two leading British Professors in Traffic Psychology” as the profession is fortunately advantaged with a number of excellent psychologists working on driver behaviour and it would be good, and generally expected, to have their quotes attributed. Thanks.

    I’m curious about Hawthorne for a few reasons. Firstly, the experiments were a controlled study and it was possible to explain to those studied the context of the experiment and their place in it – they were thought to have been made to feel special by being part of the study. RoadDriver by contrast does not facilitate this. Secondly, part of the theoretically motivational aspect of being observed was that the observation was conducted by people of some status (researchers in this case) – RoadDriver by contrast offers peer comments only and one would reasonably expect that the Hawthorne Works had plenty of in-house supervisors at the time so they’d have not been lacking in the peer review department! Thirdly, when I quote Hawthorne (typically in a fleet environment in that organisational interventions have several parallels and offer similar levels of controls and communication opportunities) I tend to cite it in a cautionary sense. The Hawthorne Effect is generally considered short-term and can disguise failings in the approach simply by getting a positive reaction to having a visible and positively intentioned approach of any kind. I find it odd that RoadDriver would quote something that might commonly be expected to cover up its weaknesses and in any event would be considered lacking in any staying power.

    Just a thought, but I’d be keen to hear RoadDrivers’ views on this.


    Jeremy Phillips, Devon
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    The problem with this system is simply that you rely on other people’s perception and that is very dangerous. In addition I am sure someone will challenge the registration search. Let’s say someone reports my vehicle and I don’t know the website exists so I don’t have an opportunity to refute the allegation then anyone can look at my registration, relative, current or prosepective employer and see I have been reported. I am immediately guilty without any chance of redress and after the fact is too late. This is contrary to natural justice.


    Terry Beale, Somerset
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    The purpose of the service is to ‘bring to a driver’s attention their poor driving behaviour and attitude’. What use is this if the ‘poor’ driver doesn’t read it? Why would someone even bother to log on if it was just to see if anyone else had complained about them?!


    Keith, Thames Valley
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    This is, yet another, well-intended but half-baked initiative that is prone to abuse and could be ineffectual due to the laws of evidence. A preferable recommendation would be for RoadDriver to direct their time, effort and financial resources to campaigning through socio-political channels for roads policing to be done as robustly as it is in some other countries, Switzerland and Chile for example. My impression is that this is nothing more than window dressing attempting to redress the inadequate level of law enforcement in Britain.


    Roy Buchanan, Sutton
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    How very encouraging to see an initiative that seeks to hold drivers accountable for their behaviours rather than solely seeking to adjust the infrastructure and wider environment to accommodate drivers poor behaviours, whether inadvertent or deliberate.
    I look forward to seeing how this works in practice and to see how we can use it to help inform our holistic approach to engineering and human factors.


    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    Dear Dave, RoadDriver takes your point on malicious reports very seriously, which is why before anyone can submit an incident report they need to confirm their valid email address. Also the driver of the vehicle that the incident report refers to has the right to reply which is placed alongside the original incident report.
    We have however put in safeguards such as a profanity filter and an alert system against multiple reporting. Should an incident report prove malicious, the report is deleted from public view and RoadDriver will pursue appropriate action against those responsible.
    I hope this answers your very valid concerns.


    Charles Dunn
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    Dear Adam, thank you for your suggestion. We intend to make available regional incident report statistics in the future when our website has been operational for at least a year which will hopefully highlight useful patterns or County hot spots.


    Charles Dunn
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    Doesn’t this open up an avenue for hate campaigns?


    Dave, Manchester
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    Would be handy for road safety engineers to have more options available for searching, for example – search by location not just registration.


    Adam, Hants
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