Phone usage while driving continues to be a problem in various parts of the world, in no petite part due to the complexity of implementing laws. How do you detect and caught someone in the act? Australian police might not have that difficulty. The New South Wales government has begun using the first cameras that can automatically catch when drivers are practicing their phones.
The method uses AI to review photos for significant signs of phone usage, with humans examining the hailed images to stop any wrong positives. There will be both set and trailer-mounted cameras on support to detect inattentive drivers.
The initial three months of the initiative will allow first-infraction drivers to get away with a notice as a warning. After that, however, it gets pricey. They’ll take a $344 AUD ($233 US) fine and five fault points in standard cases, with those amounts rising to $457 AUD ($309 US) for school zone demolitions and 10 demerit points during double demerit periods.
Officials are convinced this will drive to fewer incidents. The NSW government’s Bernard Carlton stated that “independent modeling” explained this could stop 100 fatal and serious injury smashes in the time of five years. Whether or not this occurs in use, it could absolutely work as a restraint — you may be less liable to text buddies while on the street if you know that a camera might detect and record it.
Not everyone is excited about the outlook. Privacy isn’t an important problem here (the cameras aren’t scanning for faces). Rather, it’s that this may substitute the weight of proof to motorists and force them to court if they consider the human analysts miscalculated what they observed.
That, in turn, could bog down the judicial system with more crises than normal. Not that administrators might be discouraged. After all, they could demonstrate that it’s important to weigh down the courts if even one life is saved through the cameras.