Victorian police are trialling world-first, red-light style cameras that can catch out drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel. Some other states are expected to follow suit if the trial is deemed a success.
Trials have uncovered staggering numbers of Victorians talking and/or texting while driving, with 270 people detected using their phones over a five-hour period in just one lane of the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne. A further trial conducted on three lanes of CityLink found more than 1000 drivers illegally using their phones over a nine-hour period.
“We will monitor that trial and see how it looks in terms of effectiveness and if we see some benefit in it, then certainly we’ll take it to the government in the future,” said Queensland assistant commissioner Mike Keating.
A total of 226 people lost their lives on Queensland roads alone this year with one in five involving a speeding driver and one in four involving a drunk driver. Drivers distracted by their mobile phones and other handheld devices are believed to be leading contributors to road accidents. Queensland police commissioner Ian Stewart has called on all motorists to exercise caution throughout the Christmas period.
In New South Wales in 2016, more than 38,000 people were caught using their phones behind the wheel. In Victoria, 113,000 were fined between 2014 and 2016.
What do you think? Is the introduction of cameras that can photograph drivers using phones a step in the right direction? Or is this simply another revenue-raising exercise?