Big Brother style police cars fitted with rooftop telescopic cameras that can see into drivers’ car from up to 100 metres away could soon be brought to Victoria, if the state’s Road Safety Camera Commissioner has his way, News.com.au reports.
In an annual report tabled in the State Parliament on Tuesday, Victoria Road Safety Camera Commissioner Gordon Lewis called for a full evaluation of UK smart cars with a view to introducing them in Victoria.
The Smart Enforcement Vehicles used by Manchester Police in the UK allow each operator to rotate the camera 360 degrees and zoom in on drivers to detect those engaging in risky and illegal behaviour.
The cameras can see into cars and capture drivers looking at their phones or eating at the wheel.
“The vehicles are used for the mobile detection of a range of offences and target driver inattention, including the use of mobile phones, driver and passenger safety, and associated road safety issues,” Mr Lewis told news.com.au
“The vehicles are relatively small, the driver inside has a joystick to operate a camera with telescopic access that can view into vehicles about 100m away to see what the driver is doing.
“Driver distraction is the new menace of the 21st century.”
Mr Lewis said “texting and the use of mobile phones on Victorian roads” was rampant.
“I imagine it would be the same in other states like New South Wales,” he said.
“It’s a plague and it’s fairly hard to detect.
“But the smart cars are a way to nab people who aren’t wearing a seat belt or who are using their phones or being distracted by something else ... it’s a deterrent.”
Recent research by the Transport Accident Commission revealed 56 per cent of survey respondents used their phones while driving.
Mr Lewis said he wasn’t calling for the immediate introduction of the smart cars to Victoria but wanted the government to evaluate their effectiveness.
According to Manchester Police, the number of fines issued to drivers for using their phones on the road had more than doubled since the smart cars started operation in the city in 2009, which Mr Lewis said was evidence they were working.
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