In April, Victorian motorists could face a $555 fine and four demerit points if caught driving distracted under new road rules being introduced.
Research has shown the risk of drivers being involved in a ‘Road Traffic Collision’ increases when using a smartphone, with one-third of drivers admitting to using their phone illegally while driving. Driver distraction is estimated to be the contributing factor in 11 per cent of road fatalities.
To help reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities and injuries, Victoria’s Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) has established the Distracted Driver Camera Project. The objective is to roll out a Distracted Driver and Seatbelt (DDS) automated camera enforcement solution across Victoria. The DDS will have the capability to detect illegal mobile phone use by drivers (distracted driving offences) and the non-wearing of seatbelts by drivers and passengers (seatbelt offences).
The DJCS is working with Jenoptik Australia to provide their DDS, which uses trailer mounted camera systems and Artificial Intelligence to detect motorists using their mobile phones or not wearing a seat belt. The system will capture evidence produced by the DDS cameras. Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) will be used to identify and capture number plates of offender’s vehicles to be included in incident file packages. To validate the offences detected by the DDS, Jenoptik teamed up with StarTraq Ltd to utilise their DOME back-office processing software.
The DOME will upload evidence packages from the DDS, which will be presented for verification on one easy-to-use screen.
To avoid disputes in court, the validity of an offence is paramount. To that end, Jenoptik’s staff will perform a 2-stage verification, and then the DOME will facilitate access for a Police officer to perform a final approval.
Sam Iglewski, Managing Director of Jenoptik Australia, commented,
“Using mobile phones or other devices while driving is distracting and greatly increases the chance of being involved in an accident. This particularly dangerous driver behaviour has been an ever-increasing issue during the past years, with no appropriate technology for automated enforcement. We are especially delighted to be able to now deliver such a solution that will help road authorities here in Australia. Our partnership with StarTraq makes a compelling economic and operational business case for the DJCS, and we are looking forward to working with them to deliver the road safety objectives.”
Allan Freinkel, Chairman of StarTraq Limited, added,
“For the last 20 years StarTraq has revolutionised traffic offence processing throughout the UK and beyond. We are pleased to include Victoria as one of our key international clients and are excited at the global possibilities this strategic contract presents.”
Jenoptik’s DDS and StarTraq’s DOME back-office software are due to go live in April 2023.
For more information on the new road rules, visit vicroads.vic.gov.au/drivingdistractions
Download the press release here.