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Australia Activates AI Cameras To Catch Texting Drivers

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Drivers caught handling mobile phones in Australia will now face a fine.

Texting while driving remains a problem in many parts of the world. Even with mobile police officers at work, many erring drivers are lucky to get it away. It’s therefore almost impossible to catch the erring drivers. The Australian government has found the solution in an artificial intelligence tool that will automatically detect when drivers are using their phones.

Artificial Intelligence cameras that can detect drivers who are illegally using their mobile phones while driving have been activated in Australia after its launch by New South Wales (NSW) Transport on 1 December.

The tool was tried in the first half of 2019 and it successfully detected over a hundred thousand drivers illegally using their mobile phones.  In the first three months of use, every driver caught in the act will be issued a warning letter, but afterward, it becomes pretty expensive. Drivers will face a fine with figures climbing to $233.  

The Minister says the organisation has tried to pass a message that operating a mobile phone while driving is a punishable offense and puts the safety of the occupants of the vehicle at risk.

Some people have not got the message about using their phones legally and safely. If they think they can continue to put the safety of themselves, their passengers and the community at risk without consequence they are in for a rude shock,” Andrew Constance, minister for roads said.

Officials think that this tool will lead to fewer road accidents and could in fact prevent 100 fatal and serious injury crashes in the space of five years. Whether or not this happens in reality, we cannot deny that some accidents are caused by distractions from mobile phones. If people begin to pay such huge fines for holding a mobile phone while driving, everyone driving will subconsciously desist from texting their friends because they know a camera is watching.

As expected, not everyone is particularly thrilled with this innovation. Even though this party cites privacy as an issue, the camera isn’t clearly looking for faces; its job is to detect erring drivers who are flouting the law. Obviously, this will lessen the stress of the judicial system who will now only have to rely on cameras to give their verdict concerning a scene.

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