Patrolling highways from the air
The Public Order Ministry also has made an effort to reduce the number of traffic accidents on the nation’s highways and to expand the police network over a wider area during the summer holidays, particularly the crucial danger points where there are more accidents and traffic jams. Four helicopter crews monitored conditions on the highways as part of a pilot program the ministry hopes will become a permanent arrangement. In September, two more helicopters are to be added to the fleet. Conclusions have already been drawn, even in such a short time. First of all, drivers do not appear to be deterred from committing violations even when helicopters are flying directly above them. Most violations concerned speeding, dangerous maneuvers, overtaking on double lines and driving on the wrong side of the road. The helicopter crews, all selected, experienced officers, are in constant contact with police crews on the ground by means of sophisticated communications equipment, so drivers who ignor the sound of the chopper blades find themselves confronted further down the road by patrol cars. Another important factor is the fact that the helicopters are equipped with thermal cameras that record the situation on the highways, allowing for the appropriate steps to be taken. Until schools open in September, the police presence on the roads is to be stepped up around the country to restrict accidents to a minimum.