JEDDAH – Authorities have recently started concealing Saher radar cameras in wheeled trash cans in an attempt to catch speeders. Critics have lashed out at the move, calling it a money-making scheme that does not save lives or encourage drivers to abide by the speed limit, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.
The Saher traffic monitoring system, which uses a combination of cameras and radars to levy fines against drivers who speed and run red lights, has not been popular with drivers ever since it was introduced on the Kingdom’s roads in 2010.
Many drivers have even taken the extreme and otherwise illegal measures of breaking the cameras and even attacking Saher personnel. Supporters on the other hand, have praised Saher for helping improve traffic safety by decreasing the number of accidents on the Kingdom’s roads.The latest move sees Saher radar cameras being installed in trash cans that are then discreetly placed on the median strip of streets where speeding is common. Unsuspecting drivers who break the speed limit are flashed and ticketed. Drivers have said the speed limits on some roads should be reconsidered and more speed limit signs should be erected.
“The system is fooling us. It should educate drivers about the importance of complying with traffic rules and authorities should listen to drivers’ concerns, proposals and criticisms. Drivers should be treated as partners,” said one irate driver who was recently ticketed.Naif Al-Shareef, professor of law at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, said installing hidden cameras inside trash cans is a form of deceit that contradicts the traditions and values of the Kingdom.
“Before its implementation, the Saher traffic monitoring system should have been studied thoroughly and the concerned authorities should have discussed its use so that people would know that they would be fined if they did certain things. Before giving fines to drivers, you should warn them,” Al-Shareef explained.Citizen Abdullah Al-Atheem said hiding cameras is tantamount to fooling people. He suggested that the first-time violation should be SR100 and increase gradually with every subsequent violation.“Sometimes drivers who commit a traffic violation don’t know they have been fined because they don’t receive a text message. The system milks citizens for their money,” Al-Atheem said. — SG