Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Victoria Police gets new traffic cameras

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by Jeffco, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. #1 Jeffco, Apr 15, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2014
    VICTORIA Police has started using futuristic new traffic cameras to nab drivers who text, talk or tweet on mobile phones.

    Camera operators can zoom in and snap offending drivers from 700m away — long before motorists spot the camera. Mobile phone users caught by the hi-tech traffic cameras will be hit with a $433 fine and get four demerit points.

    The new cameras will also be used to detect and fine drivers and passengers who aren’t wearing seat belts, as well as motorists driving carelessly by doing such things as applying make-up or eating at the wheel. Top traffic cop Robert Hill yesterday confirmed the new hi-tech cameras will be out in force from today in what will be Victoria Police’s longest and biggest ever Easter road blitz.

    “We received the technology last week. We have trained our members and we are now deploying the technology across Victoria,” he told the Herald Sun.

    Speeding, drink, drug and distracted drivers will be busted by thousands of police on patrol and hundreds of fixed and mobile traffic cameras during the record Easter blitz. Assistant Commissioner Hill said the new cameras to tackle driver distraction were a welcome addition to the arsenal of other detection devices that will be used during the Easter crackdown, which will run for 13 days from today. Because the new cameras are mobile they can be moved and set up quickly in many locations — so motorists never know where or when they will pop up.

    “I drive the Monash Freeway to and from work and what I see in congested traffic are people taking their eyes off the road, being distracted and looking at their mobile phones,” assistant commissioner Hill said.

    “These irresponsible drivers are putting themselves and others at risk and that’s a concern to Victoria Police. This new piece of technology is a way of combating that. With these cameras we can see from 700m away who is distracted and who is not concentrating. We can see them before they can see us. We don’t need to actually see them holding their mobile phone for them to be breaching the road rules.

    Brooke Richardson was killed after texting while driving.

    “So if someone is clearly distracted by taking their eyes off the road and looking at their mobile phone on their lap, whether it be texting or whatever, they could still be infringed for offences such as using a hand held mobile phone while driving, careless driving or failing to have proper control of a vehicle.”

    The Herald Sun has also discovered speed camera commissioner Gordon Lewis is recommending the State Government buy an even more sophisticated version of the new cameras Victoria Police has just started using.

    Mr Lewis last week made the recommendation in a letter to Police Minister Kim Wells after attending a UK road safety conference, where he was briefed on the car-mounted cameras police in Manchester, England, are using to target mobile phone use in particular.

    Victoria Police has already sent a team of officers to Manchester to watch the cameras in operation.
    Assistant commissioner Hill yesterday said they would be a valuable addition to the road safety tools available in Victoria, but it was a matter for the State Government to decide whether or not to buy them. Mr Lewis said he was impressed by how good a deterrent to dangerous driver behaviour the UK car-mounted cameras are.

    “I would like the State Government to consider their introduction here,” Mr Lewis told the Herald Sun yesterday.

    "Using a mobile phone while driving and failing to wear a seat belt are already offences. What I propose is a process designed to assist in the detection of these offences. I believe I speak for the great majority of motorists when I say that road users are utterly intolerant of the menace created by drivers who are either distracted by the use of a mobile phone or, perhaps worse, devoting their attention to texting. Once the telescopic camera is deployed the operator can view oncoming traffic at a distance, with the ability to pivot the camera about the telescopic arm as well as zoom in to get a clear view of what is happening inside the vehicle.

    I am not alone when I say I am sick and tired of having distracted drivers immobile at green lights in front of me, or threatening to rear-end me, because of lack of attention.

    Driving is a full time occupation, not a part time responsibility to be squeezed in while steering a mobile telephone box. Our roads will be safer with improved detection of mobile phone use and better enforcement of the wearing of seat belts.”

    Even without the new cameras, almost 80,000 drivers in Victoria were last year fined more than $29 million for mobile phone and seat belt offences.

    The UK camera system Mr Lewis is recommending is used to automatically send fines out to drivers in the same way Victoria’s speed and red light camera system already works. Victoria Police is using a similar camera, with the same capability as those police in Manchester are using, but a legislative change would be needed for them to be used to automatically issue fines.

    Instead, police in Victoria are mounting the new cameras on tripods and using officers in patrol cars to immediately intercept and fine offending drivers. The traffic cameras Mr Lewis is recommending for use in Victoria sit on top of extendible poles fitted to the roof of cars.

    They are controlled from inside the car by a camera operator who uses a joystick to rotate them through 360 degrees, extend them to a height of 3.6m and zoom in to get close-up views of offending drivers. Because the spy cameras are attached to the roof of a car they can be moved and parked just about anywhere.

    The UK camera cars are marked police vehicles, but, if introduced in Victoria, it is possible the cameras be fitted to unmarked cars as mobile speed camera cars used here are unmarked.

    Police Minister Kim Wells yesterday said the traffic camera car technology being recommended by Mr Lewis would be evaluated.

    “Victoria is considered internationally to be a leader in road safety and always interested in potential advances in road safety technology,” he told the Herald Sun.

    “When assessing new technology, Victoria Police and the Department of Justice consider whether the technology is appropriate and compatible for local enforcement and its potential to make Victorian roads safer. There are approximately 2000 pre-approved mobile camera sites across Victoria, which together with Victoria Police on-the-spot enforcement sends a strong message to Victorians that they can be caught anywhere, anytime.”

    A Victorian TAC campaign against driver distraction was launched last year by Vicki Richardson, whose daughter Brooke, 20, died in December 2012 when her car hit a tree just moments after she had been texting.

    Ms Richardson made an emotional public appeal to motorists not to be tempted to use a mobile phone while driving.

    “It’s just not worth cutting a life short,” Ms Richardson said.

    Mr Lewis yesterday said the presence of cameras to detect drivers using mobile phones would help prevent tragedies like the senseless death of Brooke Richardson.

    The Victorian Government’s latest road safety action plan claims texting increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by up to 15 times for car drivers and more than 20 times for truck drivers. It also claims 80 per cent of crashes and 65 per cent of near crashes involve driver inattention in the few seconds prior to the onset of the crash or near crash.

    The 2013-2016 plan also revealed almost half of all truck drivers killed during the past three years were not wearing a seat belt and that wearing a seatbelt doubles the chances of surviving a serious crash.

    Assistant commissioner Hill said the new camera to detect driver distractions — known as the Ranger camera — was just one of the techniques officers will use to capture irresponsible drivers during the high risk Easter and Anzac Day holiday period.

    He said police from Highway Patrol, general duties and specialist areas would be saturating Victorian Roads in a bid to reduce road trauma.

    “This is one of the most significant road policing operations conducted in this state over the Easter period,” assistant commissioner Hill said.

    “History tells us that we experience significant trauma on our roads during the Easter holiday break.
    Over the past five years, 1385 people have suffered as a result of 1018 collisions on Victorian roads. That means 22 people have been killed, 528 have suffered life threatening or life changing injuries and 835 suffered minor injuries.

    As a community, we need to more to reduce the pain and suffering. We all have a role to play to reduce the risks on our roads.

    We know that during this time people will be travelling to see family and friends, they will be on unfamiliar roads, driving long distances with distractions in the car. These factors are what result in terrifying collisions. My message is plan your trip, take regular rest breaks and stay alert and focused.

    We’ll be doing what we can to ensure that people behaviour responsibly. We will be using the Ranger. We know motorists are quick to put their phone down and put their seatbelt on when they see a police car. With this long lens camera, we will see them first.

    During this long weekend there are a lot of people riding dirt bikes off road. We’ll be watching this closely because it causes high levels of trauma. We’ll be on the roads intercepting drivers, enforcing the road rules and you can expect to be breathalysed during your trip.”


    <edit - formatting fixed>
  2. I can see that eating or putting on makeup can be a distraction, but since when have they been illegal, and something for which you could be pulled over and fined?
  3. You don't even have to be on the phone? Just looking down can get u pinged as 'probably' using a phone?? Come on...thats rediculous!!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. I'm not sure exactly what they would charge someone with in cases where the driver is not actually using a phone, but I imagine the old 'driving in a manner dangerous', thing would stick. News report this morning indicated the camera would take consecutive photos over 8 seconds. If you haven't looked back at the road in 8 seconds for whatever reason, that's a pretty big failure.
    I saw another one eating a bowl of cereal while steering with her knees yesterday.
    If applied sensibly it's a good thing, if applied for the bucks it's another abuse.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. What if you drive an older model automatic without gear indicators in the dashboard and you need to glance down because you accidentally down shifted to pop it back into drive without ending up in neutral? re-frickin-diculous indeed ...
  6. Driving without due care and attention. AKA Careless Driving. Goes by subtly different names in different jurisdictions.

    You can receive a voluntary tax invoice for that little gem for pretty much anything that (in the opinion of the Johnny on the spot) resulted in you driving without due care or attention or without reasonable consideration for others. Again, subtle variations for different jurisdictions.

    Your choice whether to pay it or to take it in front of the beakie.

    That little number has been on the books for years and years. Covers such things as putting on makeup, having a (non-alcoholic) drink, eating....among a whole myriad of other things.

    Don't shoot the messenger, just pointing out what you CAN get stung for.

    BTW- I HATE cameras with a passion. In my opinion there is no substitute for a well-trained, mature, visible police presence that wants to work WITH the community and is not just a front-line revenue raising arm for the Gov't. Not the tards in uniform we have these days.
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 2
  7. So they announce a mega blitz, ensuring the maximum number of people fearfully staring at their speedos, to then book those same people by assuming they're on phones. Nice.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Again, it depends on how they are used. If the statement about photographing you over 8 seconds (or whatever) is correct, momentary glancing is not going to be a significant issue.
    Like most of the new enforcement technologies, it's mostly about providing hard evidence in the case of it going to court. Police would have to convince the magistrate that looking at your speedo (for example) was dangerous ( :ROFLMAO: )
  9. Well, provided that there is an 8 second photograph period of time, this could be good.

    But I too am concerned about the whole "don't have to actually catch you looking at a phone - just looking down" statement, and I guess where I become suspicious is this fine is a lot more than others, and might just be the next cash cow for the government where they can rake in money.

    If that is the case, I can see the reasons for being fined under that regulation getting very gray and the lines blury as time moves on and they push for more revenue down the track.

    If they catch drivers on their phones, and only drivers on their phones then I'm definitely all for it - but...

    ... when speed cameras first came out I thought they might be a good idea too - until it ended up that the majority of people they book are less than 10% over and they keep wanting to lower the tolerance level! As such, if this is just the start to a new way of revenue raising and ends up becoming what speed cameras are, then I am concerned. After all, it sure seems as though Victoria is the most aggressive when it comes to using this sort of technology for revenue first, and safety is just secondary - I'm sure you'll understand if I don't trust them.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. i wouldn't be worried except the fines are exceptionally high
  11. big difference between looking slightly downward at a speedo, and looking at the phone on your lap with chin on chest for significant amounts of time..
  12. The Assistant Commissioner was just on the radio saying the fine is "Failing to have control of vehicle" It is to be used (and always has been able too, but never really enforced). Think of the lady using two hands to put on her make up and steering with her knees etc.
    As for not having to see you holding the phone etc, that bit is BS. We all know the Police need to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
  13. Nice…I'm going to be driving around and photographed with one hand on the wheel, eyes on the road and one hand giving a one finger salute! :finger:

    Can't be fined for that!

    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  14. Is this just a dslr with a very long zoom lens?

    Doesn't seem that futuristic to me.
  15. Have you seen some of the aging technology some of the police have to work with. Anything made within the last 5 years is probably 'futuristic' for the police force. :)

    Edit: Oh - we're talking about TMU - which is the one department that normally does get the latest technology to make more revenue, so I'm probably wrong - and it probably is relatively new technology then.
  16. Constable Care from Victoria Police returns salute.


    Not a difficult thing to do at times. Have a look at this imbicile:

    'I just don't care': Texting P-plate driver hits cyclist
    April 15, 2014, 4 a.m.

    A P-PLATE driver who used her mobile phone behind the wheel 44 times before running down a cyclist near Koroit has been fined $4500 and lost her licence for nine months.

    Kimberley Davis, 21, of Grant Street, Port Fairy, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to dangerous driving. She was originally charged with 47 offences covering each time she had used her phone.

    The cyclist suffered a spinal fracture which required surgery and placement in a spinal cage at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital. He was originally told he could be left a paraplegic and spent three months recovering. He also suffered a broken big toe and lacerations to his head and body.

    The court heard that the victim couldn’t believe that Davis rang triple-0 after the accident but refused to offer him help after she parked 100 metres up the road. Even more stunning was Davis’ answers when interviewed by police two days after the accident and asked about using her phone.

    “I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit and my car is like pretty expensive and now I have to fix it,” she told a police officer.

    “I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car. I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.”

    Davis had driven from a supermarket in east Warrnambool to just west of Koroit when she hit the cyclist at 7.20pm on September 20 last year on the Penshurst-Warrnambool Road. The cyclist was on the edge of the road heading west when Davis hit him from behind, despite there being lights on the back and front of his bike. Records showed Davis used her phone 44 times in her drive from east Warrnambool to Koroit, sending and receiving 22 text messages to seven different phones.

    At 7.18pm she received a text message and 51 seconds later made the call to triple-0 after hitting the rider. Magistrate John Lesser said there were issues surrounding the case of great community significance, especially drivers using mobile telephones. He noted that Davis’ comments were poorly put when she was interviewed by police.

    Mr Lesser noted that yesterday a Terang family business was fined $17,500 with more than $3000 costs after a workplace accident and the injuries caused were not as significant as those suffered by the rider.
    The wife of the bike rider was in court for the hearing yesterday and was deeply disappointed Davis did not lose her licence for longer.

  17. Well what has been reported is that they no longer need to see a phone, they're free to assume if your eyes aren't on the road, then you're distracted. If the eight second window is correct then it should be fine, but the very fact they're seemingly now free to assume is worrisome.
  18. If they're allowed to assume someone is on the phone, I wonder if they're allowed to assume someone isn't looking at the road too if they're wearing glasses and can't see the eyes.

    As I mentioned previous - whilst I see that this could benefit by reducing the amount of people willing to text being the Victorian government I believe it's only a matter of time before it's abused and used primarily as revenue raising.
  19. How will this be abused? If you are doing something (not just using your phone) in a moving or stationary vehicle at the lights which requires you to look down and not at the traffic around you for more than 8 seconds. You really shouldn't be doing it. Try counting it in your head when you are driving or stationary, 8 seconds is a really long time to not be looking at the road.

    Revenue Raising is issuing infringement notices for motorist doing 3-4kph over the speed limit on a Freeway when they are trying to overtake, clear blindspots of trucks and cars.
  20. What happens to the video after the capture? Is it then stored forever and subjected to facial recognition so that the govt has a record of the driver and front passenger's location at that time to add to the detailed database ANPR, toll cameras, police car cameras and red-light cameras are already gathering?

    Oh wait, if I haven't done anything wrong I don't need to worry right?

    I'm generally in favour of prosecuting hand-held mobile phone use by drivers but the privacy policies that the public has access to are generally to vague to leave me confident that my data is secure. Having worked in govt. IT before I also have experienced that, despite having privacy officers, policies are ignored or not understood and staff have access to much more data than they need.