The New South Wales Department of Transport recently announced plans to roll out the first ever mobile phone detection camera program by the end of 2019.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road accidents claim 1.2 million lives every year, and permanently disable 50 million people. Distracted driving has been on the rise owing to increasing penetration of mobile phones worldwide. Distracted driving refers to driving while engaging in activities that distract the driver from the road and can result in dire consequences related to safety of the driver, fellow passengers, pedestrians, and other vehicles on the road.
Melbourne, Australia based company, Acusensus, has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) based distracted driver detection system. Furthermore, the system can function well in bad weather, darkness, and extreme glare from the sun. The algorithms facilitate collection of a wide range of data with the help of high resolution cameras that can penetrate the windshield, registration plate cameras, and other computing devices. Moreover the system is equipped to recognize suspected phone use with the help of an analysis software. Finally, the system allows manual inspection of vehicles that have a clear evidence of phone use, and images to verify and fine offenders by issuing tickets.
The NSW Department of Transport conducted a 6-month pilot test, in which 100,000 drivers, out of 8.5 million vehicles, were found to be illegally using their phones. “There is strong community support for more enforcement to stop illegal mobile phone use with 80% of people we surveyed supporting use of the mobile phone detection cameras,” said Andrew Constance, Minister for Roads. The program would include the issuance of a warning letter in the first three months, and a repeated offense would cost the driver a fine of $344 and 5 demerit points. The program is scheduled to commence by the end of 2019, with a goal of performing 135 million annual vehicle checks per year by 2023.
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