BikePGH!

plate logging site

This topic contains 24 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  jonawebb 1 yr.

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brybot

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Mar 24 2013 at 12:42pm #

I am looking for some feedback on an idea that I was considering pursuing. Does anybody know of a good website for logging license plates of dangerous drivers? I managed to find one outdated phone app for this purpose. Anyway, I was thinking about putting together a site for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers to record plates of unsafe drivers along with details about the date, location and incident. Although police reports are great, it is hard to file a police report every time someone behaves like an idiot in a car. But a public and searchable database of license plates and recorded incidents might be useful evidence if it were ever needed. If something like this already exists, or nobody sees a need, I won’t bother. But if you like the idea, let me know!


byogman

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Mar 24 2013 at 2:20pm #

I like the idea.

It gets more interesting, and harder, if there’s the ability to enter and search fuzzy information (maybe only a partial plate, type of vehicle if it can’t be narrowed to make and model, approximate color, guestimated age, proximity of prior incident).

If you decide to pursue, let me know, I’d like to help.


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 24 2013 at 4:47pm #

The use I would have for it is to search on a plate after entering info on one. When some idiot does me wrong in some manner, I pull over and tweet the plate. It would be useful to see if anyone else has reported something similar on that plate, as well as review my own past entries to see if there are any repeats.


TeamDecaf

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Mar 25 2013 at 3:28pm #

I have an idiot to add to the site, if you move forward… a little street justice might help one of us in the future.


byogman

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Mar 25 2013 at 4:33pm #

I’m all for collecting data in advance of any functionality. Just a google docs spreadsheet, if it has data, is already useful, and greatly increases the usefulness of any app to follow.


brybot

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Mar 25 2013 at 4:58pm #

Thanks for the feedback! I’ll contact byogman and TeamDecaf via PM soon when I have a chance to start working on this. It shouldn’t be too much effort to set up some quick web forms with a database. I’m going to request that this thread is removed before I publicly launch anything in order to keep my identity safe.


byogman

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Mar 25 2013 at 5:28pm #

Makes sense, not sure if there’s any way bike-pgh itself can own this so no indivdual is a target? Lastly, just FYI that I’ll be dropping offline for a couple days, but will chat about this again soon.


Nick D

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Mar 26 2013 at 11:31am #

I was exploring this idea and put an inquiry to an attorney about possible liabilities. He never got back to me concerning that, but I would keep that in mind before making a public database.


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 26 2013 at 11:39am #

It might be possible to have the spreadsheet post anonymously, though that might make later searching for one’s own posts more difficult.


Nick D

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Mar 26 2013 at 11:41am #

@stu, I think the legal issue would be with the person hosting the information or whoever created the database.

I’m not an attorney so I really have no idea–it just sounds like something you should be prepared for legal troubles with.


jonawebb

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Mar 26 2013 at 12:01pm #

I know it is illegal to share information taken from the PA database such as driver’s name etc. And I think this applies even to private databases — it appears from the (probably scam, BTW) license plate search sites that they are supposed to verify that you have a valid purpose for requesting the information — though of course it’s just a button on a form.
The sort of thing brybot is talking about wouldn’t have any id information on it so I think you’re safe from that point of view. But I would worry more about unintended consequences. Say, an abusive husband used the information to track down his wife, and did her some injury. It may be somewhat far-fetched but I could imagine something like this leading to some legal issues for the creator of the site.
Of course you could imagine the same thing happening to anyone, say the creator of a church directory, but there is an obvious beneficial intent in that case. Brybot is talking about a database that might be looked as having a negative, punitive purpose — which might make it harder to defend in court.


Mick

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Mar 26 2013 at 2:03pm #

A problem might be use of the site for harassment.

“John’s a jerk! I’m gonna post his license plate!”


rice rocket

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Mar 26 2013 at 2:34pm #

Yeah, the other problem is the whole host of cognitive biases brought on by trying to remember incomplete details, and being primed by a list.

But hey, I guess it works for police lineups……

Oh wait, that’s not right at all.


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 26 2013 at 4:22pm #

I was more worried about someone fingered in the stats, back tracking to figure out who fingered him, then doing further harm.


edmonds59

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Mar 26 2013 at 6:46pm #

I would swear I’ve heard of something like this that already exists on the internetz.


brybot

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Mar 26 2013 at 8:05pm #

Nick D wrote:I was exploring this idea and put an inquiry to an attorney about possible liabilities.

Yes, this is a concern of mine.

jonawebb wrote:The sort of thing brybot is talking about wouldn’t have any id information on it so I think you’re safe from that point of view. But I would worry more about unintended consequences. Say, an abusive husband used the information to track down his wife, and did her some injury. It may be somewhat far-fetched but I could imagine something like this leading to some legal issues for the creator of the site.

Indeed, there would be no personal information. I’d have to filter descriptions somehow such that names could not be posted.

jonawebb wrote:Brybot is talking about a database that might be looked as having a negative, punitive purpose — which might make it harder to defend in court.

And you are right, it would be mostly for punitive purposes, but it could also be useful for city planners.

Mick wrote:A problem might be use of the site for harassment.

Yes. I don’t yet have any good ideas for defending against that.

rice rocket wrote:Yeah, the other problem is the whole host of cognitive biases brought on by trying to remember incomplete details, and being primed by a list.

I intend to warn users to post before searching. Then we can use statistical techniques to cross reference. This should avoid what you are talking about, at least to some degree. I have several ideas for implementing this.

StuInMcCandless wrote:I was more worried about someone fingered in the stats, back tracking to figure out who fingered him, then doing further harm.

There will be no publicly identifiable information about the poster. One safety method could allow the poster to select a time, say a week, or a month, before their post actually shows up. This way, someone searching for their plate will be less likely to remember specific details about an incident.

edmonds59 wrote:I would swear I’ve heard of something like this that already exists on the internetz.

If you can find it, please tell me. I did find a phone app, but it was outdated by a couple of years. I’m looking to build something targeted mostly towards cyclists, but also for pedestrians and other drivers.


edmonds59

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Mar 26 2013 at 8:15pm #

This evening I watched some fucktard on Carson street drive ON THE SIDEWALK between a parked car and a fence to get to the parking lot of the Co-Go’s on 24th, to get gas. I would have loved to have taken a 2 foot pry-bar to this assholes windshield. But I didn’t have a 2 foot pry-bar on me. Good luck with the idea.


Steven

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Mar 26 2013 at 10:32pm #

These seem similar:

http://www.platewire.com/

http://www.zapatag.com/

I don’t know if any of them are any good though.


Steven

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Mar 26 2013 at 10:33pm #

Also this one:

http://www.faildriver.com/

(The forum software prevented me from putting them all in one post.)


Steven

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Mar 26 2013 at 10:36pm #

This one too:

http://tinyurl.com/driverratings

(Obnoxious forum software refused to post the actual link, so let’s see if it will permit a redirect.)


brybot

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Mar 26 2013 at 10:55pm #

Thanks Steven! Those all look similar to what I had in mind, but I think I might be able to add useful features that they don’t have, as well as fill a niche for cyclists. The intention of the database I want to create would be for evidence in a court case rather than for fun as these other sites seem to be. To that end, I would collect more detailed and specific information. But if you guys think these are good enough, that feedback would be useful.


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 27 2013 at 12:01am #

One possible solution to the problem is to use this thread (or at least the forum), right here. You’re among friends, you can post text, pics and video, explain the situation, and then show it to the cops later. This is exactly what pinky did a couple months ago, to good effect.


jonawebb

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Mar 27 2013 at 7:27am #

@brybot’s database would be easier to reference than posts here, which disappear with time. It would be hard to go back and find all the license plate numbers that have been posted on various threads here. But for the same reason, it’s much better to use one or more of the existing sites, if they could work, than to create a new one.


flyS564

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Mar 27 2013 at 8:22am #

This serves a different purpose but could be used for tagging clowns. If the developers who are local saw a potentially different target audience from car enthusiasts, I’m sure they would consider options: heydrvr.com


jonawebb

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Mar 27 2013 at 8:44am #

None of the sites posted are bike-oriented so it makes sense to start a new site. And the existence of these sites allays a lot of the potential concerns about legal issues.

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