Australia, Transport News

New road safety cameras out in force in Victoria

In the trial period, more than 7000 offences have already been picked up by these cameras

The Victorian government says drivers doing the wrong thing behind the wheel are being put on notice that new high-tech road safety cameras trialled are now enforcing fines – and drivers will be caught.

The mobile device and seatbelt detection cameras began operation in April this year, using AI technology to capture high-resolution images of vehicles and detect offences.

From July 1, drivers will now face penalties of four demerit points and a $577 fine when caught using a mobile phone while driving, and three demerit points and a $385 fine for drivers and passengers not wearing a seatbelt.

Shockingly, during April and May this year, the cameras detected 7160 offences, including 3523 drivers and 767 passengers not wearing seatbelts and 2870 drivers using mobile phones.

“We know that driver distraction is a major contributor to serious and fatal collisions and the time for complacency is over. These cameras will be deployed all over the state and they will catch those drivers not buckled up or distracted by phones,” Victorian police minister Anthony Carbines says.

“Drivers have a responsibility of not just keeping themselves and others in their car safe, but everyone else using the road too. Every life lost on the roads is avoidable – I urge Victorians to do the right thing on the roads.”

Up until July 1, drivers are being issued with an advisory letter throughout a three month grace period to ensure they have an opportunity to heed safety warnings and adjust their behaviour before enforcement begins.

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There are currently four camera trailer systems in operation, enforcing more than 8000 hours each month. The cameras can be deployed to up to 200 locations in rural and metropolitan areas. A further two camera trailer systems will be operational in the coming months.

Distracted driving is a major contributor to serious and fatal collisions. In 2022, nearly a quarter of vehicle occupants who died and their seatbelt status was known were not wearing a seatbelt. Drivers are also 10 times more at risk of crashing if they are texting, browsing or emailing on their mobile phone.

The state government has invested $33.7 million in the new cameras as part of the Victorian Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, which aims to save lives and reduce trauma on Victorian roads.

Additionally, the government has invested $49.4 million towards 35 new Fixed Digital Road Safety Cameras, and two new Point-to-Point networks.

The next phase of these cameras will begin enforcement on July 11 2023, with two new cameras in operation in Coolaroo and Narre Warren. The roll out of the remaining road safety cameras will continue to take a phased approach, with 20 intersection sites to be complete by the end of the year and the entire program to be completed by 2026.

Upgrading road safety camera sites along the Hume Freeway is also underway, including works at ten existing road safety camera sites and installing additional road safety cameras at four new sites, extending the existing Hume Freeway point-to-point network from Broadford to Euroa.

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