Cameras that automatically give tickets to speeders are old news. So are red-light cameras. Now Australia is exploring using cameras to ticket motorists who are on their cell phones while driving.
Australia might become the first country to legalize using photographic evidence alone to enforce distracted driving laws.
The problem goes beyond Down Under. Failure to pay attention behind the wheel killed 3,450 Americans in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using their phone while driving.
Australia’s New South Wales Police Highway Patrol chief, Assistant Commissioner Mick Corboy, thinks more technology is the answer. He told news.com.au “The way we are going to defeat this is by video evidence, by photographic evidence, and we are looking at everything possible around the world at the moment.”
Cameras able to detect drivers looking at their phones is still in development. Corboy calls them “emerging technologies,” but also says “We’ll get something in place fairly quickly.”
Robo-cited for distracted driving
When a camera catches someone texting and driving, sending the ticket will work the same way it does when a driver is speeding or runs a red light. They’ll receive a notice of the infraction in the mail, along with a picture of them in the act.
If this turns out to be a success in New South Wales, it’s likely to spread all over Australia. An American version is almost inevitable. Distracted driving is a problem all over.
Apple added a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature to iOS 11, but there are no statistics for how many people use it. When activated, this silences incoming texts and notifications until the driver reaches a destination.