Modern mobile devices are pretty darn convenient. Smartphones today have almost all of the same features as desktop computers, and these capabilities are available on the go. Although these portable mobile computers are very convenient, they also have harm: they significantly increase the number of accidents, including fatal ones – and in particular, with the participation of motorcycles.
To help keep drivers focused, Australia is deploying a network of security cameras that monitor vehicle interiors and fine those who use mobile devices while driving.
MPDC Mobile Phone Tracking Cameras
During the pilot phase of the MPDC (Mobile Phone Tracking Cameras) project, Between January and June 2019, 8.5 million vehicles were scanned in the Australian state of New South Wales. Although no administrative records were compiled during testing, it was estimated that 100,000 drivers were seen using mobile devices while driving.
The system consists of two surveillance devices: one records the license plate of the vehicle, and the second at this time detects the position of the driver’s hands. Then the artificial intelligence analyzes the images and selects those in which the driver is holding something in his hands. After that, the AI-marked images are analyzed by competent employees for the use of mobile phones and, after confirmation, a fine is imposed.
At the end of the pilot stage, violators will receive a fine of 344 Australian dollars (almost 15 thousand Russian rubles) and 5 penalty points in their profile. Drivers should not rely on luck: MPDC systems can be both stationary and mobile, they work around the clock and in any weather. Australia will have operational 45 MPDC kits by the end of 2019 and will expand the program until 2023.
In December 2018, information appeared that fatal accidents with motorcyclists decreased by 11% in those states of Australia where the use of mobile devices while driving was prohibited. With the help of the MPDC, the authorities will be able to make this ban as effective as possible. The results of this initiative will not be known until several years later, as data accumulates for analysis, but it is curious to see how Australia is taking increasingly decisive steps to prevent distracted driving.
As motorcyclists, we are delighted with similar innovations in the world. But most of us are also motorists. Are you ready to sacrifice your privacy for the sake of everyone’s safety? Only time will tell if these measures will be effective, but one thing is for sure: traffic cameras are designed to improve road safety, not reduce it.