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The smart cameras are being tested on an undisclosed motorway in the UK, the Daily Mail reports, following success in Australia.
Designed by Australian firm Acusensus, they work by using artificial intelligence to instantly analyse high-definition photos taken through the windscreen of passing cars.
The images can be produced not only in any weather – good news, given Britain’s reputation – but also at speeds of up to 185mph without any blur from motion.
Jenoptik, the enforcement technology firm tasked with testing the cameras in the UK, believes the new technology will prove crucial in providing evidence to prosecute offenders.
During the pilot scheme, which has been running since spring, one camera clocked 15,000 drivers using their phone behind the wheel – although the figure is believed to be far higher, as the trial was not always capturing data, and was not monitoring all of the motorway’s lanes.
Geoff Collins, of Jenoptik, told the Daily Mail: “However, it does still relate to a significant number every day, which is quite scary.
“Current findings suggest one in 200 vehicles show mobile phone misuse. This is a worryingly high figure.”
It is hoped the cameras will be rolled out on a wider scale across the country, possibly next year.
The system is already in use in New South Wales, Australia – where it is estimated to have reduced road fatalities by a fifth since being introduced two years ago.
The cameras, which can also catch drivers not wearing a seatbelt, were also permanently rolled out in Queensland in July this year.
Collins said there has been a ‘high level of interest’ in the cameras from highway authorities and police forces.
“Using a handheld mobile phone significantly increases the risk that a driver will be involved in a collision,” he said.
“But until now it has been difficult to monitor and stop this behaviour. These trials have proved that AI can flag up drivers who continue to flout the rules.”
As of 2022, UK laws will go one step further to ban motorists using phones to take photos, videos or scroll through playlists while driving, meaning those caught doing so will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their license.
According to the Daily Mail, if the use of the cameras is approved by law, images would be sent to police and ‘notices of intended prosecution posted to the vehicle's owner in the same way as speeding penalties’.
Featured Image Credit: Acusensus
Topics: UK News
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