Who is Sofia?
Well, what might come to your mind is a female, right? But actually, nope. Sofia (pronounced Sophia) is the name of speed cameras that have been placed throughout the country of Rwanda in various locations. These high-tech road safety systems are being used to help motivate road users to remember traffic rules and improve road safety nationwide.
Why Did Sofia Come?
Well, over the past few years, Rwanda has been campaigning for safer driving with the most successful campaign reducing traffic accidents by 17%. However, at least 532 people died in road accidents between January and September 2019, while another 705 accidents were registered as serious in the same period. Also around 1,300 properties were destroyed as a result of road mishaps. So now, cameras were imported and placed on 400 identified accident hotspots nationwide. The police hope to reduce road accidents by 80 percent.
What Does Sofia Look Like?
There are three different types of cameras. One is a statue of silver with two black stripes. Those don’t move and are placed in various areas. Next is a smaller more mobile one that looks like a photographer box from the 1800s. Then of course, the police still are able to use radar guns. All these cameras can take a vehicle’s information at a distance of 500 meters.
Sophia camera checks speeding, traffic violations, and is even able to detect when a driver has a seatbelt on or if has been speaking on the phone.
These cameras are fitted with number plate identification software that immediately sends an SMS to the registered owner of the vehicle informing them of violation committed and the corresponding traffic ticket and fine.
So basically, Sofia is real in these streets. Literally…and has changed the way traffic moves throughout the country. Some people try to use Radarbot or even Waze as apps to help know the location of the cameras.