by Lumai Mubanga
Road traffic offences rank among one of the highest offences that is committed by many road users, pedestrians and drivers alike. Governments worldwide have clearly spelt out specific penalties related to road traffic offences. Unfortunately, governments continue to lose a lot of revenue due to bribes on the roads.
Governments worldwide have acknowledged the existence of these many traffic offences and the corruption that goes on. Governments have put up measures through their road safety agencies. Among these, include controlling overloading, fleet registration and control, driver licensing and pedestrian education among others.
Not all is lost
Some countries have minimal success stories. For example, in south Africa, a report shows that, a total of 128 roadblocks have been conducted ahead of the December holidays and so far, 71,328 vehicles have been stopped, 56,805 traffic fines issued, 312 vehicles discontinued, 525 vehicles impounded and 541 arrests made.”
The money collected from the 56, 805 offences goes into government coffers for further enforcement of the law and the 312 discontinued vehicles are taken out of the road and help reduce unnecessary road traffic accidents and loss of life. However, this is one of the few examples where traffic offenses are professionally handled and the government benefit.
How corruption manifests
Corruption usually manifests when an offender fails to pay penalty fees. For example, in South Africa, “a R100 or $6.57 bribe is requested when the alternative is to pay a legitimate fine of double that amount”, according to the arrivealive.co.za website. This appears to be the “best” way out. However, the offender and the vehicle involved could continue to be on the road. How can breakthroughs in technology like block chain reduce these incidences?
On Manned Roadblocks
Every vehicle details will be kept on the immutable ledger on block chain. For manual roadblocks, details regarding its fitness, roadworthiness, drivers and drivers’ details including contact details & links to bank accounts will be kept on the database. Traffic officers will have access to these records. Using mobile devices, police will be able to update details regarding vehicle roadworthiness as well as drivers competences.
Traffic offences Penalties and payments
Many countries have installed traffic cameras, which are able to monitor specific incidences on the roads such as over speeding and overloading. On manned roadblocks, these are cases open to compromise and bribes. However, such payments can be automated on the block chain immediately an offence is made. A record of an over speeding car is immediately recorded immutably on the block chain. The driver’s details and status will thus be available on the distributed network for all enforcement agencies to see in every province. Using some smart contract code, the offender will have his license revoked and blacklisted immediately, pending an approved electronic payment for the offence.
This will firstly, remove human interference in handling offenses and secondly, remove humans from handling cash as this will be handled by trusted block chain systems. Indeed, block chain has potential to reduce bribery on our road networks.