9 April 2021
New technology will help catch people using their mobile phones while driving and putting others road users at risk.
The Victorian Government is providing $33.7 million to use this technology for enforcement on Victorian roads. The government will introduce new legislation to be able to fine those doing the wrong thing.
Over three-months the trial assessed a total of 679,438 vehicles. The trial detected one-in-42 drivers illegally using a mobile phone behind the wheel and putting lives a risk.
Two portable cameras in the trial found the highest rates of mobile phone use at:
- Craigieburn Road East in Wollert with a one-in-18 offence rate
- Calder Park Drive in Hillside with a one-in-21 offence rate
- Old Geelong Road in Laverton with a one-in-28 offence rate
The trial also found the technology can detect drivers who don’t wear a seatbelt. Other dangerous behaviours, such as driving with no hands on the wheel or with pets on laps, were also seen.
Research from Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) estimates this technology can prevent 95 crashes where people are injured or killed per year.
The distracted driver technology will help free up police resources. Victoria Police currently need to physically catch drivers using their mobile phone before issuing a fine.
Stakeholder consultation, testing and demonstrations as well as a public awareness campaign will be now be complete. Enforcement of the technology on Victorian roads will begin by 2023.
The distracted driving technology uses an artificial intelligence-enabled camera system to capture high-resolution images of passing vehicles in all traffic and weather conditions – day and night. Images that are likely to contain a mobile phone offence are then verified by trained staff.
The distracted driving technology is part of the Government’s new Road Safety Strategy which aims to halve deaths and significantly reduce injuries by 2030, setting Victoria on the path towards zero road deaths by 2050.
A Distracted Driving camera operating during the trial.