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I stumbled across a website today called RoadSideWatch, a website setup by Loraine McElligott on the Sunshine Coast who hopes to catch “Hoons” in action and have them reported to police. Usually when I come across a website as stupid as this, I don’t bother writing about it, but this site has been getting a little bit of media attention.

Road Side Watch

The idea is relatively simple, they lend you a camera for the weekend (for $150 – plus a $1,500 bond – this site seems more concerned about money than safety), you video tape the hoons in your area and they will forward it to police in the hope that the cops will do something about it.

This all sounds like a great idea doesn’t it? I mean wouldn’t we all love to get rid of these “hoons” on our roads. There is one big problem with it all though. It is nothing more than a reactionary response jumping on the anti-youth driver bandwagon. It hopes to catch people in the wrong using a sort of big brother system of in car cameras and microphones.

It hopes to get the community involved to go out there, and try to video tape drivers breaking the law. Not exactly the most subtle way to combat bad driving. I would like to point out that, the majority of people who will be getting these cameras to video tape the hoons are going to be doing this at night, and unless they have night vision cameras (which they dont), the technicality of this is nonsense – but it makes good news.

So far it hasn’t been a great success, the site has all the sections regarding how to buy cameras and tshirts finished, whilst the important things like statistics and facts are left with a “coming soon” section, there are hardly any videos on the site and more importantly, the idea behind it shows a little bit of vindictiveness to get back at anyone under 25 driving a modified car.

It appears to me that some correlation between someone ‘endangering your life with a gun and someone endangering your life by driving dangerously in a car can rightfully be made.

This is always the best way to start, by comparing bad/reckless drivers to armed gunmen! The ironic story behind this site is that the support is coming from the parents of these very so called hoons. The parents who see their children as angels on the road whilst the reality is a different story.

If you saw a gunman in the street you would pick up the phone and call the police without hesitation. We ask people to take a video/photo, and send it to us, if they see someone in a car endangering the lives of others. Or better still, hire /buy a car camera and forward the footage to us.

I would love to see Ms McElligott go through and redo her driving test. How many mature drivers are out there who put the lives of everyone else on the road in danger by breaking every road rule known to man? Nonetheless, they don’t speed, their cars are quite and most importantly they are not young, so therefore they are mature and experienced drivers who cause no one harm.

But it all makes sense, the media loves this sort of knee-jerk response. Target the youth, bring out more restrictions, video tape them being stupid – makes great news, and put them all in jail. Fantastic.

Perhaps someone should remind Ms McElligott that teenagers are going to be teenagers, its part of being a teenager to take unnecessary risks and put ones life in danger. To put it simply, its natural. Recently RACV’s Ken Ogden made a comment that I, for once, agree with :

“Young people, especially males, are inherent risk takers,” he said. “They can’t just turn that off when they’re driving.”

All statistics back up this claim with road fatality rate for young males three times higher than young females. Furthermore, a good portion of these “hoons” that RoadSideWatch wants to bring to justice are also young males.

The site has also received its fair of bad and rude comments from these so called Hoons. So there has been a little section put up to mention:

I want to make it clear that this campaign is not directed against young people any more than anyone else.

Thankfully though the voice of reason has caught up with the site as well, with comments like this left by visitors:

Just saw your segment on Today Tonight and I am absolutely disgusted at this pathetic attempt to make a quick buck with the use of scare tactics and senile citizens with an infinite amount of time of their hands.

Haven’t you people got something better to do? How about you go help the under-privileged or disabled children? Why waste your time with fruitful attempts to curb what is a nationwide problem that can’t be solved by grandma’s with cameras.

I notice I can buy a roadside watch t-shirt now – congratulations on reaching phase two of any online revenue spinner!

and even better:

Instead of jumping on the generalisaion band wagon i think you should be more focused on banding together with car enthusiasts and youths to lobby they government to upgrade their roads, implement new driving schemes like drivers ed in schools, make driving instructors more accessible and affordable, fund more places where it is legal and affordable for drivers to feed their erratic behaviour such as racing burnouts and drifting

and most importantly make it mandatory for all drivers to undergo intensive driver training courses. Not just slap a few more years onto newer drivers and hope their parents, partners and friends teach them he correct way to drive.Older drivers also need to be tested more regularly to ensure they no the every changing road rules.

It seems like our message is getting through to some!






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