Part of the state of Victoria’s Road Safety Strategy in Australia will include distracted driver technology which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect motorists that are using mobile phones while driving. The Road Safety Strategy aims to halve deaths and significantly reduce injuries by the year 2030, towards a goal of zero road deaths by 2050.
Research from Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has estimated that widespread use of automated mobile phone enforcement could prevent 95 casualty crashes per year in the state, while also saving taxpayers AUS$21 million (~US$16.2 million) annually..
The AI technology from Acusensus was initially tested in a three-month trial that assessed almost 680,000 vehicles. That trial found one in 42 drivers was illegally using a phone. The system uses an AI-enabled camera system to capture high-resolution images of passing vehicles. If images are detected that appear to contain a mobile phone offence, a member of staff verifies the situation. The technology is also able to detect drivers who are not wearing a seatbelt, along with other dangerous behaviours, such as driving without hands on the wheel or with pets on laps.
Danny Pearson, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, said: “Using your phone while driving is unbelievably dangerous, and this trial has showed just how common it is on Victorian roads. It’s unacceptable that so many Victorians are putting others’ lives at risk – which is why we’re investing $33 million (US$25.9 million) to install this new distracted driver technology.”
Victoria plans to begin using technology by 2023, after further stakeholder consultation, technology testing and demonstrations, as well as a public awareness campaign.