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Catching Drivers On Their Phone Set To Become Way Easier

Technology / 13 Comments

But there's one aspect that's bound to be controversial.

Earlier this year, Volvo unveiled its smart new tech designed to reduce deaths caused by intoxicated or distracted drivers. Cameras monitor the driver to detect if they are intoxicated or distracted by detecting behaviors such as a lack of steering input for extended periods of time, keeping their eyes off the road, slow reaction times, or weaving across lanes.

Taking this a step further, APNews reports that Australian state New South Wales will be rolling out world-first tech specifically designed to catch and punish drivers distracted by their mobile phones while using social media or making text messages or phone calls.

Melissa Mjoen via Unsplash
Alexandre Boucher via Unsplash

"There is no doubt drink-driving as far as I'm concerned is on a par with mobile phone use, and that's why we want everyone to be aware that you're going to get busted doing this anytime, anywhere," New South Wales Roads Minister Andrew Constance. By December, the government intends to roll out 45 Mobile Phone Detection Cameras.

Each unit contains two cameras. One camera photographs a car's license plate, while a second high-set lens looks through the windshield and can see what drivers are doing with their hands. The units incorporate artificial intelligence to exclude drivers who are not touching their phones. Photos are then verified by human eyes. If the driver is found guilty, they will receive a fine of 344 Australian dollars ($232). Some cameras will be permanently fixed on roadsides and others will be placed on trailers and moved around the state.

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Two fixed cameras were trialed this year for six months and checked 8.5 million vehicles. Out of these, over 100,000 drivers were using their phones while driving. One driver was even using a phone and iPad simultaneously, while another had a passenger steer while they both had phones in their hands. Unlike traditional speed cameras, there are no warning signs that let drivers know where the cameras are located, which is bound to cause controversy.

The government believes these phone detection cameras could prevent 100 fatal and serious injuries over five years. So far this year, more than 16,500 drivers have been fined for illegally using phones while driving, according to local police.

via Volvo
via Volvo

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