Saturday, September 25, 2010

The highway to hell

An interesting concept isn't it?

A display of dead drivers and you get to choose your favorite.

All in the hope this will deter dunk driving.  Good luck with that.

Yekaterinburg cops ask drivers to vote for their favourite corpses
by Tom Washington - The Moscow News

Dead and mangled, the wreckage of Yekaterinburg’s worst car accidents is up for public display.

But far from a provocative art stunt this is an official initiative by the Ural city’s traffic cops – who are asking people to vote on their favourites.

The police say it’s a public safety campaign aimed at deterring drink drivers rather than encouraging rubber-neckers.

But others have dismissed it as the crude antics of a madman.

Different opinions
“I think this is savagery,” railed Za Prava Cheloveka (For Human Rights) leader Lev Ponomarev. “We will sort out this situation. It will not remain without its consequences,” he vowed, urging the interior ministry to medically examine the people who put the pictures up. 

But Vyacheslav Lysakov, leader of the motoring movement Svoboda Vybora (Freedom of Choice) told Interfax he was OK with the scheme.

“Our website has a selection of photos and video clips with all the details,” he enthused. “This should show people.”

Setting standards
The quest to shock can be taken too far, some claim. “We are often confronted with the statements of MPs and ordinary citizens about the need to observe standards in the media,” journalists at said. 

“Sometimes journalists can be shocking in their pursuit of sensational material.” Nonetheless government institutions are clearly guilt of the same practices, they said.

The website’s Ivan Bargin went so far as to venture that there be a code of conduct, which applied to government press services as well as much as to journalists. The information that official sites publish is available, he said, not just to professionals but to the general public including children.

Although strong images can play a role in encouraging responsible driving they should be chosen with some degree of common sense. And it is one thing to show twisted wreckages but quite another to show mutilated bodies in pools of blood, still more to vote on them, KP reported.

But Lysakov thinks the pictures don’t go far enough. He calls for real punishment to discourage drunk drivers and fines do not do enough, he says. He notes with regret that the worst rule breakers are not made to go to preventative sessions.

“Punishment should not only hurt the purse, but wasting these people’s time would also be very effective. In these documentaries they should show footage of car crashes,” he said, although he did not say whether they should then vote on them. “According to research by psychologists up to 60 per cent of people amend their behaviour after watching these videos. This is a very good way to sober people up.”

A United Russia project ‘Safe Roads’ is soon to discuss the issue of visual deterrents and other ways to promote legal driving.