We’ve been told a million times that texting (or tweeting) while driving is dangerous. However, a lot of folks still do it; putting their and other people’s lives in danger. Now, Australia is set out to catch them with a new AI-based system.
The government of New South Wales state is setting up cameras specifically made for catching drivers using mobile phones. The state’s transport department tested the system with cameras on two spots, and it’s now spending $88 million to install them on 45 spots.
During the test, almost 8.5 million cars were examined and nearly 100,000 drivers were caught using their phones illegally. The government caught people texting, using social media apps like Facebook – some even took both their hands off the wheel to type that all-important status message.
NSW Roads Minister Andrew Constance said authorities are taking this step not to generate revenue, but to save lives:
We have to, unfortunately, use the element of surprise to get people to think ‘well, I could get caught at any time. I want (this) behavior to change and I want it changed immediately. It’s not about revenue — it’s about saving lives.
The government is rolling out these cameras with a three months grace period during which drivers at fault will receive a warning.After that, drivers will be fined $344 (AUD) and get assigned demerit points.
According to a report from abc.net Australia, authorities are planning to inspect 135 million vehicles by 2023 under this program.