Nowadays, there are mobile phone applications for almost anything one could possibly think of — even for tracking police speed traps on the streets and highways of the city you live in.
One such application provider Doha’s Net-savvy youngsters seem to have been frequenting, is Trapster.com. The website provides an application for mobile phones with GPS and Internet capabilities, such as iPhones, Blackberrys, Androids, Palms and high-end Nokia models, that alerts the user to police radars in real time by using the phone’s GPS system.
Users can register on the website and download the application to their mobile phone. They can programme the application to give them verbal alerts when approaching not only fixed speed cameras but also mobile speed traps, combo cameras, red light cameras and even the locations where the police often hide.
Since Trapster is a community-based application, it relies on the uploads of its users to indicate the location of these speed traps. Users can also vote on the credibility of these locations. The locations with the most number of accurate votes are labelled “high confidence” while those with low vote counts are labelled “low confidence”.
In Qatar, where speeding fines are pretty high and strictly enforced, the Trapster mobile application is gaining popularity among the local youth, especially those who have Blackberrys and iPhones, if the animated discussions on the Net, especially Arabic forums, are any indication.
It is yet to be seen how the Traffic Department in Doha looks at this new phenomenon. But, in an Associated Press report, the developer of Trapster, Pete Tenereillo, said police officials in the United States whom he has spoken to have not complained about the application because it encourages drivers to slow down.
Till the time of writing this report, there were a total of 3,390,875 Trapster users and 1,251,073 traps had been reported globally.
The majority of traffic violations recorded after implementation of the new traffic law in Qatar are related to speeding, use of mobile phone while driving and wrong overtaking. Cases of jumping the red signal are very few thanks to the severe penalty imposed on this serious violation.
Each year, almost 400,000 young people under the age of 25 years are killed in road accidents — about 1,049 youngsters every day, according to the World Health Organisation. It also says that pedestrians and those using public transports are the main victims. But in Qatar, rarely are public buses involved in accidents.
According to the WHO, speeding is more likely to be a factor when the driver is under 25 years old.
A five percent increase in average speed leads to approximately a 10 percent increase in fatal crashes.
The desire for thrills and risk-taking is high among the youth, according to the WHO. Speeding, racing cars with friends gives a feeling of achievement to youth in the 20 to 29 age group.
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