Cameras to spot drivers on phones

By Brendan Rees

Cameras will capture distracted drivers on their mobile phones from Wednesday 29 July.

The cameras allow high-resolution images to be captured in all conditions, regardless of weather and light levels, and for those images to be reviewed in real time to detect potential offences.

A three-month trial of state-of-the-art safety cameras, which will also be tested for people not wearing a seatbelt, will be rolled out across Victoria. If introduced, they will be able to operate from any location, 24 hours a day.

However, motorists will not be issued infringements during the three months and number plate matching will not be undertaken.

All photographs captured will be deleted, except for a limited number of de-identified images.

The trial will help understand how the technology can be integrated with the existing road safety camera systems and ensure the cameras operate effectively and accurately.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville said: “This technology will detect those who choose to put lives at risk on our roads.”

Research shows drivers who use a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to cause a fatal road accident. Texting, browsing and emailing increase the crash risk even further – up to ten times.

Testing will focus on a relocatable version of the technology across several metropolitan and regional locations and will be conducted by the technology provider, Acusensus, and the current traffic camera services contractor.

Research conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre estimated an automated mobile phone detection cameras could prevent 95 casualty crashes per year and save taxpayers $21 million annually.