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  • New police cameras can catch phone use from 700m away

    Interesting bit of tech.

    Article from last week.

    VICTORIA Police has started using futuristic new traffic cameras to nab drivers who text, talk or tweet on mobile phones.

    They will also capture people not wearing seatbelts, or those applying make-up or eating while driving.

    Camera operators can zoom in and snap offending drivers from 700m away — long before motorists spot the camera.

    Mobile phone users caught by the hi-tech traffic cameras will be hit with a $433 fine and get four demerit points.
    Top traffic cop Robert Hill yesterday confirmed the new hi-tech cameras will be out in force from today in what will be Victoria Police’s longest and biggest ever Easter road blitz. “We received the technology last week.

    We have trained our members and we are now deploying the technology across Victoria,” he told the Herald Sun.

    Speeding, drink, drug and distracted drivers will be busted by thousands of police on patrol and hundreds of fixed and mobile traffic cameras during the record Easter blitz.

    Assistant Commissioner Hill said the new cameras to tackle driver distraction were a welcome addition to the arsenal of other detection devices that will be used during the Easter crackdown, which will run for 13 days from today.

    Because the new cameras are mobile they can be moved and set up quickly in many locations — so motorists never know where or when they will pop up.

    “I drive the Monash Freeway to and from work and what I see in congested traffic are people taking their eyes off the road, being distracted and looking at their mobile phones,” assistant commissioner Hill said.

    “This new piece of technology is a way of combating that. With these cameras we can see from 700m away who is distracted and who is not concentrating.
    “We can see them before they can see us. We don’t need to actually see them holding their mobile phone for them to be breaching the road rules.

    “So if someone is clearly distracted by taking their eyes off the road and looking at their mobile phone on their lap, whether it be texting or whatever, they could still be infringed for offences such as using a hand held mobile phone while driving, careless driving or failing to have proper control of a vehicle.”
    Does anyone know how many cameras are in use?

  • #2
    They will probably start off in limited use by the State Highway Patrol with maybe a couple of local Highway Patrols participating. Give me a Q car any day.

    Comment


    • #3
      Australia has some of the most draconian traffic laws/enforcement I've ever seen... I've never really had much of a desire to enforce traffic laws so strictly and absolutely, but different strokes I guess.

      Comment


      • #4
        That's generally the perception of the American legal system here, with things like the death penalty, three strikes laws, jails and serving sentences consecutively. I'm a fan of those things myself though!

        Deaths and serious injury collisions are seen as a major community problem and there is a lot of support for our current road laws. That's not to say there isn't controversy about parts of it but by and large the public are on our side.

        I must say that lately the controversy has increased a bit. The boss mentioned in this article, AC Robert 'Call Me Bob' Hill has certainly turned things up to eleven with the way he wants traffic enforcement to be conducted. His big thing is low level speeding. Going 7km/h (4.3mph) over the limit? He wants them booked!

        Comment


        • #5
          I think the reporter confused the range of the LIDAR unit with the effective range of the video camera. 700 meters = .43 mile. At that distance, there's no way you're going to distinguish someone using a cellphone from someone scratching his ear, especially through the windshield of a moving vehicle.

          Australia has some of the most draconian traffic laws/enforcement I've ever seen.
          Their traffic fatality rate is about 30% lower than ours, wonder why?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
            I think the reporter confused the range of the LIDAR unit with the effective range of the video camera. 700 meters = .43 mile. At that distance, there's no way you're going to distinguish someone using a cellphone from someone scratching his ear, especially through the windshield of a moving vehicle.

            Their traffic fatality rate is about 30% lower than ours, wonder why?
            I'm not trying to suggest that there is anything wrong with the way they run their roads! I'm just saying that if I booked someone for only speeding (other than reckless), there had better be some serious contempt of Deputy or a refusal to sign.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sierra259 View Post
              Australia has some of the most draconian traffic laws/enforcement I've ever seen... I've never really had much of a desire to enforce traffic laws so strictly and absolutely, but different strokes I guess.
              Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
              I think the reporter confused the range of the LIDAR unit with the effective range of the video camera. 700 meters = .43 mile. At that distance, there's no way you're going to distinguish someone using a cellphone from someone scratching his ear, especially through the windshield of a moving vehicle.



              Their traffic fatality rate is about 30% lower than ours, wonder why?





              Photo posted “tongue in cheek”
              Last edited by sanitizer; 04-22-2014, 04:28 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sierra259 View Post
                I'm not trying to suggest that there is anything wrong with the way they run their roads! I'm just saying that if I booked someone for only speeding (other than reckless), there had better be some serious contempt of Deputy or a refusal to sign.
                Horses for courses. Police generally show a higher speed tolerance than speed cameras but the public here generally expect fairly strict enforcement of road laws.

                I'm aware that in the US tolerances can go as high as 15-20mph (15mph is 24km/h. We suspend licences for driving more than 25km/h over) but that sort of driving would have the public here calling 000 and asking us to try and catch the driver.

                I generally give between 10-15km/h leeway, depending on the speed zone but I write dozens of speeding tickets every week for speeds like 71/60, 48/40 and 110/80 depending on where I am running laser.

                Originally posted by sanitizer View Post
                Mounted in a commercially designed holder and no use of hands to operate? NOD, onto the next car

                Comment


                • #9
                  “We can see them before they can see us. We don’t need to actually see them holding their mobile phone for them to be breaching the road rules.
                  I can accept that different countries do things differently, but it seems they're saying "We don't need to see you break the law to know you're breaking the law."

                  And I agree with Seventy2002 - no way a camera is going to give you that good a view at 700M into a moving vehicle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JustAJ View Post
                    I can accept that different countries do things differently, but it seems they're saying "We don't need to see you break the law to know you're breaking the law."
                    Like I said, AC Bob Hill is taking traffic enforcement up to eleven in some ways. I think the way it was put there was poorly worded.

                    He seems to be referring to stricter enforcement of the mobile phone law: Road Rule 300(1). The way this law is written means that a driver doesn't have to be holding the phone in their hand for an offence to be committed. If they are looking at the screen or they have it sitting on a leg or in their lap then an offence is still being committed and these cameras seem to make it easier to see this and prosecute.

                    And I agree with Seventy2002 - no way a camera is going to give you that good a view at 700M into a moving vehicle.
                    I haven't seen the technology so I can't comment. I'm going to guess that it would primarily be used in heavy traffic which is where a lot of mobile phone offences are committed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mulgrave,

                      Below find California’s vehicle code sections re cell calls and text, how does this compare to yours?

                      V C Section 23123 Hand Held Wireless Telephone Prohibited Use
                      Hand-Held Wireless Telephone: Prohibited Use
                      23123. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.
                      (b) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
                      (c) This section does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity.
                      (d) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using a wireless telephone while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.
                      (e) This section does not apply to a person driving a schoolbus or transit vehicle that is subject to Section 23125.
                      (f) This section does not apply to a person while driving a motor vehicle on private property.


                      V C Section 23123.5 Electronic Wireless Communications Device Prohibited Use
                      Electronic Wireless Communications Device: Prohibited Use
                      23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text–based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voiceoperated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.
                      (b) As used in this section “write, send, or read a text-based communication” means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.
                      (c) For purposes of this section, a person shall not be deemed to be writing, reading, or sending a text–based communication if the person reads, selects, or enters a telephone number or name in an electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call or if a person otherwise activates or deactivates a feature or function on an electronic wireless communications device.
                      (d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
                      (e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ours is a bit broader in scope.

                        300 Use of mobile phones

                        (1) The driver of a vehicle who is not a learner driver or the holder of a probationary driver licence must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless—
                        (a) the phone is being used—
                        (i) to make or receive a phone call (other than a text message, video message, email or similar communication); or(ii) to perform an audio playing function—
                        and the body of the phone—
                        (iii) is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being so used; or
                        (iv) is not being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press any thing on the body of the phone or to otherwise manipulate any part of the body of the phone; or
                        (b) the phone is being used to perform a navigational or intelligent highway and vehicle system function in a vehicle that is not a motor bike and the body of the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being used; or
                        (c) the phone is being used to perform a navigational or intelligent highway vehicle system function on a motor bike; or
                        (d) the vehicle is an emergency vehicle, enforcement vehicle or a police vehicle.
                        Penalty: 10 penalty units.
                        (1A) Despite anything to the contrary in rule 299(2), the driver of a vehicle who is a learner driver or the holder of a probationary driver licence must not use a mobile phone, including using the phone to perform a navigational or intelligent highway and vehicle system function or an audio playing function, while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked.
                        r. 300
                        Penalty: 10 penalty units.
                        (2) For the purposes of this rule, a mobile phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle if, and only if—
                        (a) the mounting is commercially designed and manufactured for that purpose; and
                        (b) the mobile phone is secured in the mounting, and the mounting is affixed to the vehicle, in the manner intended by the manufacturer.
                        (3) For the purposes of this rule, a driver does not use a phone to receive a text message, video message, email or similar communication if—
                        (a) the communication is received automatically by the phone; and
                        (b) on and after receipt, the communication itself (rather than any indication that the communication has been received) does not become automatically visible on the screen of the phone.
                        (4) In this rule—
                        affixed to, in relation to a vehicle, includes forming part of the vehicle;
                        body, in relation to a mobile phone, means the part of the phone that contains the majority of the phone's mechanisms;
                        held includes held by, or resting on, any part of the driver's body, but does not include held in a pocket of the driver's clothing or in a pouch worn by the driver.

                        mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two way radio;

                        use, in relation to a mobile phone, includes any of the following actions by a driver—
                        (a) holding the body of the phone in her or his hand (whether or not engaged in a phone call), except while in the process of giving the body of the phone to a passenger in the vehicle;
                        (b) entering or placing, other than by the use of voice, anything into the phone, or sending or looking at anything that is in the phone;
                        (c) turning the phone on or off;
                        (d) operating any other function of the phone.


                        Emphasis is mine. Basically if you touch the mobile phone, you commit an offence. The penalty is a lazy $433 and 4 demerit points as opposed to California's $20 initial fine and $50 subsequent fine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mulgrave600 View Post
                          That's generally the perception of the American legal system here, with things like the death penalty, three strikes laws, jails and serving sentences consecutively. I'm a fan of those things myself though!

                          Deaths and serious injury collisions are seen as a major community problem and there is a lot of support for our current road laws. That's not to say there isn't controversy about parts of it but by and large the public are on our side.

                          I must say that lately the controversy has increased a bit. The boss mentioned in this article, AC Robert 'Call Me Bob' Hill has certainly turned things up to eleven with the way he wants traffic enforcement to be conducted. His big thing is low level speeding. Going 7km/h (4.3mph) over the limit? He wants them booked!
                          I've posted this link before in another thread but I think it is appropriate that it be posted in this thread, given that we are discussing 'Australia's draconian traffic laws/enforcement'

                          In my view, this is an excellent production and one of many that is getting out the message,

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHX07-jsuzc

                          Cheers

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I did think that was one of the better TAC campaigns I've seen lately. I just worry that Bob Hill will undermine good work like that with his low-level speeding obsession.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's funny you mention the low level speeding thing. Here in SA we have had some serious discussions about that recently - whether to caution or not.

                              Our GOs state we are not allowed to verbally warn, and have to write caution. But the fatal five aren't supposed to be cautionable, which strictly speaking means it is very difficult to show discretion for low range speed offences.

                              Comment

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