Victorian motorists will soon be under surveillance from fixed cameras that can detect whether a driver is using their mobile phone while behind the wheel.
The innovative safety cameras will be mounted from fixed positions such as bridges and poles, and will operate as separate devices from Victoria’s already vast speed camera network.
Victoria has been trialling the new cameras since August 2020, following the lead of neighbouring New South Wales, which first tested the detection technology in December 2019, before implementing it state-wide in May 2020.
According to the Victorian Government, out of 679,438 images that were taken under the three-month safety camera trial in 2020, one in 42 motorists were caught using their phones.
That may not sound like a lot, but the State Government believes these numbers will rise substantially, given last year’s testing was conducted while Victoria suffered through lockdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cameras will also be able to detect motorists engaging in other dangerous behaviour such as not wearing a seatbelt and driving without having hands on the steering wheel.
The cameras will take photos of every single motorist that drives by them, and from there artificial intelligence software will detect and filter images with potential offences occurring. Following that, an official will assess the photos and issue fines accordingly.
Captured photos which show no offence will be deleted within one hour of assessment, according to the State Government.
Victorian taxpayers will fork out $33.7 million for the safety initiative, which will be fully rolled out by 2023.
Queensland is thought to be the next state that will adopt mobile phone detection cameras, while other states across Australia continue to assess the technology.
The infringement of a driver using their phone while operating a vehicle is a serious one, and as such, those caught in Victoria will be hit with a substantial $496 fine and four demerit points.
However, that is by no means the most severe penalty in the country – Western Australia and Queensland will fine a motorist caught using their phone a whopping $1000 and four demerit points.
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VFACTS: The winners and losers in April
Which models came up trumps last month, and who didn't quite make the cut
Hyundai defends Tucson's 'futuristic' credentials despite no hybrids
Hyundai Australia concedes the all-new Tucson's powertrains aren't as advanced as some of its rivals
Track and charge: FCAI releases plan to overhaul road user costs
Registration and other key forms of taxation would be scrapped, according to the FCAI, in favour of tracking vehicles and charging for road use