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Marked unPolice cars

Encourage better driving through fear
(+8, -8)
  [vote for,

Everyone tends to drive just a little more carefully and considerately when they see a police car. But there aren't that many around. The police also have unmarked cars for various duties.

So, why not have cars that look like police cars, but aren't ? They would be externally marked just like police cars, but driven by civilians. Other drivers, seeing the cars, would immediately behave better.

To stop the cars being abused by their drivers, they would be used as part of mobility schemes. The cars (or vans) would be leased at heavily subsidised concessionary rates to disabled people or elderly people with mobility problems on the condition that only they drove them. These sorts of drivers are usually very socially responsible and don't drive that fast. Retired police officers would be preferred candidates.

This system would also allow the clear identification of vehicles that were actually permitted to park on double yellow lines etc.

In times of emergency, these vehicles would form a reserve pool of transport to supplement existing fleets. By inserting a master key to activate the blue lights and sirens, and plugging in a radio to the prepared wiring, the vehicle could be fully operational in a matter of minutes.

8th of 7, Jun 20 2002

(??) Sydney taxi cab http://www.sydney.v...com.au/info3-3.html
The ta ralia ok ervin y ik po ce cs [stupop, Jun 21 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Cop car http://members.fort.../rwcar4a/cap125.jpg
looks similar...unnervingly so. [stupop, Jun 21 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

(?) Sydney cop cars. http://members.fort...m/pcarsite/nsw.html
Here's another NSW cop car link as UB's didn't work. [stupop, Jun 21 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Highways Agency Traffic Officers http://www.gnn.gov....ediaDetailsID=91375
Showing the liveried vehicle [oneoffdave, Apr 05 2006]


       This may backfire like the boy who called wolf.
FarmerJohn, Jun 20 2002

       Or the boy who called "pig."
jester, Jun 20 2002

       Would a civilian driving such a car be violating any laws against impersonating an officer? We may need to update some laws to accommodate the practice.
BigBrother, Jun 20 2002

       BigBrother: No. They wouldn't be in uniform, and wouldn't have any police powers; but the car would be for them and named drivers only. It would be an offence for others to use it (although we expect there would have to be some flexibilty, i.e. for RAC men or if the named driver was taken ill).   

       We consider the necessary legislative changes would be fairly minor.
8th of 7, Jun 20 2002

       The taxis in Australia look unnervingly like police cars.
stupop, Jun 20 2002

       Stupop: Or is it that the police cars look unnervingly like taxis ?
8th of 7, Jun 20 2002

       I've wondered about doing this in an abstract manner. Paint the car the right color and create markings which, from a distance, look like police markings but upon closer inspection are not. I think it would have some interesting effects: The police really couldn't complain since the scheme is just a parody; people seeing the car would be inclined to drive better (at least until you got closer); you might inure people to the look - meaning that, when sloppy drivers become used to seeing 'fake' police cars, they may assume many police cars are fake, drive past them inappropriately and get ticketed.
phoenix, Jun 20 2002

       Phoenix: Mmmmm... er.... yes. Yes, it could work. An interesting extrapolation. Having "something that looked a bit like a police car at first glance from some distance away" would not be illegal, we're sure. And it's that "Oh SH*T, A COP" ice-down-the-spine reaction that we're after.
8th of 7, Jun 20 2002

       I guess you guys live in fairly "non-violent" countries. Where I'm from, not even the police want to drive in cars which resemble police cars
senatorjam, Jun 20 2002

       Pheonix: It's easily achieved by adding "stealth" black school bus looking wheels, the "completely invisible and undetectable" silver teardrops next to the side view mirrors, and a half dozen antennae to the trunk of any car.   

       The police here (Detroit) call that undercover- I think I spot the undercover cops further away than the real ones.
Mr Burns, Jun 20 2002

       why do'nt you give them some fake guns and fake bp vests in case some escaping criminal gets jumpy and gun happy when he sees them coming?
loke, Jun 20 2002

       [thcgenius] Oy! Another homeboy! I'm from the Downriver area. Graduated in Romulus.
phoenix, Jun 20 2002

       NSW. See link.
stupop, Jun 21 2002

       I didn't say that Australian taxis look unnervingly like *Australian* police cars did I?   

       But they actually do. Anyway, I would easily be able to tell the difference by inpecting photos. My experiences of being 'unnerved' by the similarities between the taxis and the police cars generally came about whilst in the middle of doing something illegal on my bicycle, thereby catching only a glimpse of the vehicle in question. As a result of this I would often stop whatever it was I was doing, which is the intention of this idea. Hence my comment.   

       I still stand by my assertion that there is enough of a similarity between Sydney police cars and Sydney taxis to have an effect.
stupop, Jun 21 2002

       what can you do that's illegal on a bicycle? (only thing I can think of is cycling on the pavement (UK) and no-one *ever* gets stopped for that here, although I am told that technically you could have you driving licence taken off you for doing it.)
sappho, Jun 21 2002

       In Sydney cyclists regularly get fined for riding on footpaths, riding without both hands on the handlebars, riding without a helmet, breaking red lights, going the wrong way up one-way streets etc.
stupop, Jun 21 2002

       Sappho: It is only illegal to ride on the pavement in England and Wales if your wheels are larger than a specific diameter. This is one of those odd 19th century laws that has never been repealed. Strange but true.
8th of 7, Jun 21 2002

       1) Just a few cars stationed at strategic locations on highway road-sides might work, even with no one in them.   

       2) There is a traffic-violation fighting firm of paralegals in Ontario (forget the name) who drive cars that are VERY similar to police cars, with the words "Ex-Police" in big letters on the side. They are coming quite close to this idea.   

       3) I sometimes get afraid that I'm speeding when I see a cop car, and slam on the brakes to slow down. Just instinct, but not at all safe. Also, i wonder if drivers might actually get more blase about the sight and start ignoring real cop cars?   

       Good idea though. I dislike speeders (not land-speeders - those are cool).
Matty, Jun 21 2002

       Matty: we're with you on the land speeders.
8th of 7, Jun 22 2002

       // what can you do that's illegal on a bicycle? only thing I can think of is cycling on the pavement (UK) //   

       Think "dangeous driving". Or "drunk in charge".   

       Cyclists are road users and are bound by the Highway Code just as drivers are.
JKew, Jun 22 2002

       Baked in a suburb of Atlanta, or at least with Matty's #1 adjustment. They would park a police car at a strategic spot near the center of the town, with a mannequin seated in the drivers seat. I believe other small towns in the U.S. with limited police forces also do this.
krelnik, Dec 20 2002

       //These sorts of drivers are usually very socially Responsible and don't drive that fast.//   

       Guess I'm the expection to that rule. Socially responsible but I don't hang about on the m-way.
oneoffdave, Feb 10 2003

       if by any quirk of fate, you are my no 1 son, you will get such a slap next time you come home. I told you not to speed.
po, Feb 10 2003

       I don't think I am [po] as I am sibling free, but I'm willing to risk a slap for some good home cooking.
oneoffdave, Feb 10 2003

       *good* homecooking? hah thats a laugh. fancy a takeaway?
po, Feb 10 2003

       Okay, chinese or indian?
oneoffdave, Feb 10 2003

       You should see the Beverly Hills P.D. unmarked cars - they have hidden lights in what appear to be executive "short-limo" sedans, which are already numerous. Many a car I saw pass one up, thinking it was just somebody being transported on to/from airport or studio - then *whoop*. Slowed traffic down quite a bit, once folks caught on.
thumbwax, Feb 10 2003

       In a suburb of Columbia they are adopting "slick tops", no lights or antennas on the top. These suck major, and force my qualifying times way down :)
Veritas, Feb 14 2003

       I used to ride an exCHP 750 Honda. More effective than an orange safety vest for being visible.
ato_de, Feb 14 2003

       Here in Denmark the police have used cardboard cutouts of police cars and motorcycles to reduce trafic speed entering country villages. The car cutout was just the front end poking out of a gateway in "poorly hidden speed trap" pose.   

       Dispite beenig 2D they are supprisingly lifelike (!) and have the disired effect (the "oh shit ... reduce speed now and look innocent" effect)
warholm, Apr 09 2003

       //what can you do that's illegal on a bicycle? (only thing I can think of is cycling on the pavement (UK) and no-one *ever* gets stopped for that here, although I am told that technically you could have you driving licence taken off you for doing it.)//
I know someone who got ticketed for overtaking a car down a hill at 50mph while talking on his mobile phone; he was on a bicycle.
squigbobble, Jan 29 2004

       Somewhat related: in Thailand, I saw a dummy policeman -- an inflatable doll dressed in an actual police uniform, standing in front of a police booth. It really helps make the drivers more careful!
danilom, Apr 05 2006

       This is effectively baked now as the UK Highways Agency vehicles look a lot like police cars. They even have clear lightbars so you can't tell they are amber instead of blue until they are lit up [link].
oneoffdave, Apr 05 2006

       Both police cars and taxis in the US are ussually large American sedans like a Ford Crown Victoria or a Chevy Impala. Taxis are usually yellow, and police cars are usually white. Sometimes I do find myself checking my speed whenever I see a big white sedan of any kind.
discontinuuity, Apr 05 2006

       I think this would be helpful, even if the faux police cars didn't *quite* look like real police cars... they only have to from farther away. Few people will take the chance and speed past one if they aren't sure, and I believe most drivers just need a bit of a snap back to reality to drive a bit more safely... and the pseudo-police car would do just that.
Agamemnon, Apr 05 2006


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