New police cameras will catch phone use from 700m away

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April 14, 2014

VICTORIA Police has started using futuristic new traffic cameras to nab drivers who text, talk or tweet on mobile phones. They will also capture people not wearing seatbelts, or those applying make-up or eating while driving.

Camera operators can zoom in and snap offending drivers from 700m away — long before motorists spot the camera. Mobile phone users caught by the hi-tech traffic cameras will be hit with a $433 fine and get four demerit points.

Top traffic cop Robert Hill yesterday confirmed the new hi-tech cameras will be out in force from today in what will be Victoria Police’s longest and biggest ever Easter road blitz. “We received the technology last week. We have trained our members and we are now deploying the technology across Victoria,” he told the Herald Sun.

Speeding, drink, drug and distracted drivers will be busted by thousands of police on patrol and hundreds of fixed and mobile traffic cameras during the record Easter blitz. Assistant Commissioner Hill said the new cameras to tackle driver distraction were a welcome addition to the arsenal of other detection devices that will be used during the Easter crackdown, which will run for 13 days from today.

Because the new cameras are mobile they can be moved and set up quickly in many locations — so motorists never know where or when they will pop up. “I drive the Monash Freeway to and from work and what I see in congested traffic are people taking their eyes off the road, being distracted and looking at their mobile phones,” assistant commissioner Hill said.

“This new piece of technology is a way of combating that. With these cameras we can see from 700m away who is distracted and who is not concentrating.

“We can see them before they can see us. We don’t need to actually see them holding their mobile phone for them to be breaching the road rules.

“So if someone is clearly distracted by taking their eyes off the road and looking at their mobile phone on their lap, whether it be texting or whatever, they could still be infringed for offences such as using a hand held mobile phone while driving, careless driving or failing to have proper control of a vehicle.”


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