It’s no secret, there are a lot of bad drivers out there. I’ve been thinking about this subject lately, and came to a realization. The road is a lot like the internet. People can be aggressive, and take advantage of their anonymity to mess with those around them (See Trolls). I think they also feel as though they’re more capable of getting away with breaking the rules as long as the cops aren’t around (See File Sharing). On the internet, these issues are being dealt with by requiring that a name or phone number be attached to your account. Facebook and Google have been pushing for people to use their real identities for quite some time. Could this same solution apply to the road? Here’s my proposal.
The website. A website is built that allows people to enter a license plate number and the infraction they witnessed. When a license plate number is entered for the first time, a page is generated that is dedicated to that plate number. If someone else enters another infraction from the same number, it is added to that page. The website will aggregate the results into an easy-to-understand list.
The issue of honesty. People will be capable of lying, and that’s fine. It’s possible to lie on many services, including Foursquare, where you can actually be rewarded with badges and points you don’t deserve. Foursquare still works despite this. It’s fun to use. That’s how I’d like this website to work.
The app. On that note, I think an app would be great for this. I would recommend not using it while driving, but it would allow people to enter infractions they see while not at home.
How this could help. First, a disclaimer. I don’t think it would be a good idea to attach actual names to these license plates online. The plate number itself would serve as the username. I also wouldn’t forward these infractions to the police. They can keep doing their own thing. I just think it may spur people on to do better if they know that they are being held accountable online. They may even realize they were making mistakes they didn’t know about.
I’d prefer to reward good drivers. Unfortunately, that’s a lot more difficult to notice or measure. What do you think would make this idea better?