Cameras in This Japanese Subway Station Can Spot Drunkenness

Kalupa via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Kalupa via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0 / Kalupa via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Along with man-spreaders and those people who treat the subway like a dining car, drunk passengers are the bane of many public transit users' existence. Not only are they bothersome to those around them, but they pose a threat to themselves as well.

West Japan Railways plans to take precautions against such behavior by installing specially-designed security cameras at Osaka’s Kyobashi Station. The 46 cameras, which went up last week, are used to detect telltale signs of intoxication, such as staggering across the platform, falling asleep on benches, or just standing still in a daze for too long. Once these behaviors are spotted, station attendants are notified so they can prevent riders from stumbling onto the tracks. 

Though it sounds like something dreamed up by Big Brother, the railway insists the cameras are only there for safety purposes and won't be used to identify people. It's not surprising to see the train system searching for solutions, considering that of the 221 people hit by trains in Japan in 2013, 60 percent of them were drunk at the time. If the cameras are successful in curbing alcohol-related injuries, West Japan Railways says they're prepared to expand them to additional stations. Japanese commuters better think twice before standing around in a stupor for too long, drunken or otherwise—you never know who's watching. 

[h/t: Wall Street Journal]