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29 Jul 2018

New type of camera on Aussie roads is watching your driving habits


A NEW type of camera which detects your driving habits is appearing on Aussie roads, but there’s a good reason behind it.

CREEPY new “smart” detection cameras are quietly being installed on Aussie roads — and they are analysing your driver behaviour.

In a world first, a camera that catches drivers on mobile phones has been installed among a cluster of cameras above Sydney’s bustling M4 motorway.

The groundbreaking new technology captures still images, video and artificial intelligence to detect whether the driver who passes beneath is talking, texting, reading or listening.

From this information authorities can now tell whether you are checking your Facebook account or concentrating on the road.

Three of these new cameras are being tested by competing companies in Sydney — and the first has been installed on the M4 overpass near Clunies Ross Street in Prospect in the city’s west.

However, no fines will be issued while the technology is being tested. And all test recordings will be deleted.

It comes after a major political push in every Aussie state to clamp down on texting drivers following a horrific death toll on Australia’s roads in recent years.

Driver distraction is understood to be the cause of about 16 per cent of serious crashes. Last week, a major new study presented to the Australasian Road Safety Conference revealed startling new figures which show that every 96 seconds, an Aussie driver is distracted by something other than the road ahead

It also reveals 6 per cent of these non-driving tasks captured on video resulted in near misses. Drivers braked sharply, swerved into the next lane, forgot to indicate, or failed to yield to a pedestrian.

“Anything longer than a quarter to a half a second where you are travelling at speed, and you take your eyes off the road, you don’t know what’s going on. You think you do, but then suddenly something jumps out and that’s when something happens,” Professor Raphael Grzebieta, the project’s lead chief investigator, told Fairfax.

Last year, NSW Police handed out about 42,000 fines to drivers caught on their mobile phones, with the distraction increasingly emerging as a factor in fatal crashes over the past decade.

In the past five years, NSW has recorded 184 crashes blamed on mobile phone use, seven deaths and 47 serious injuries.

NSW Police spokesman told that officers currently “use a variety of methods to detect drivers using their phones while driving”.

“Line-of-site, by trained officers is the primary method of detection, however, long-ranged cameras have been used with success, and helmet cameras in motorcycle police continue to be used,” the spokesman said.

According to National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) manager Jerome Carslake, the most common causes of road fatalities and car accidents occasioning serious harm are fatigue, speed, distraction (including mobile phones), and alcohol or drugs.

During the 12 months ending in February 2018, there were 1249 road deaths across Australia. That was a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to the total for the 12-month period ending February 2017.

In 2016, 1300 lives were lost on roads nationwide, which was an increase of nearly 8 per cent on the previous year (1205).

Mr Corboy said in a statement earlier this month that too many people made “poor decisions” while driving.

“Every fatal crash is a tragedy for not only those involved, but for the families they leave behind,” he said.

“The most frustrating part about it is that most crashes are preventable if people slow down and take responsibility on our roads.”

In NSW, motorists caught using a mobile phone while driving can be slapped with a $337 fine and a loss of five demerit points.

The Australian Capital Territory has some of the toughest laws in the country, with a fine of $528 and loss of four demerit points for a driver caught texting or using social media behind the wheel.

Like the ACT, Western Australia also has a separate specific offence for motorists caught texting while driving.

“WA Police Force is constantly looking for new ways to target offences frequently linked to serious and fatal crashes on our roads, including inattention through mobile phone use,” a WA Police spokesman told

“The penalty for using a mobile phone while driving is $400 and three demerit points.”

In Queensland, motorists can be fined $378 and have three demerit points recorded against their traffic history if they are caught holding a mobile phone for any reason while driving — that includes when they’re stopped at traffic lights or in congested traffic.

Learner and P1 drivers are prohibited from using hands-free, wireless headsets or a mobile phone’s loudspeaker function.

“At this time the QPS does not have technology to detect drivers using mobile phones,” a QLD Police spokesman told

Double demerit points apply for second or subsequent mobile phone offences committed within one year after an earlier offence.

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