The government of New South Wales in Australia is in the process of rolling out high definition cameras that will be able to detect whether or not a driver is using the cellphone while driving.
The cameras are powered by artificial intelligence, which is trained to scan the road in search of drivers who have a phone raised to their ears.
Andrew Constance, New South Wales’ Minister for Roads, called the phone detecting cameras a “world-first.”
As with many machine learning programs, the artificial intelligence will review a large collection of images showing drivers illegally using their cellphones while driving, which will train it to detect when similar occurrences are happening in the real world.
According to CNN affiliate Sky News Australia, 45 portable cameras will be set up across New South Wales in the next 3 years, but the state will not reveal where these locations are, and they will not be identified by signs on the road.
Fines for drivers who get caught using their cellphones on camera start off at roughly $344, but could go as high as $457 in school zones.
In addition to the fines, drivers can also face penalty points on their licenses. Officials have said that they have already tested the technology for at least a year during a test trial. In the trials, over 100,000 drivers were caught using their cellphones illegally while behind the wheel.
The new measures are in response to unusually dangerous conditions on the road in New South Wales. In this year alone, at least 329 people have died on the road in the Australian state, which is a slight reduction from the total of 354 deaths in 2018.
The state government of NSW is hoping to reduce road fatalities by 30% in the next two years, and they are hoping that these cameras will act as a deterrent to keep people off their cellphones while driving, so they can pay full attention to what they are doing.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed in 2,935 distraction-affected crashes, accounting in 2017, which accounted for 9 percent of all the fatal crashes in the United States.
Cell phone use behind the wheel reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The Australian state of New South Wales rolled out the first cameras today using artificial intelligence. The AI will review images & detect illegal use of cell phones.
A life is more important than your text.
Don't text & drive. 🙏#SundayThoughts
— ∼Marietta (@ThisIsMarietta) December 1, 2019
According to experts, teens are especially likely to use their phones while on the road, even though they are fully aware of the risks.
It can be very easy to get distracted by a cellphone while driving, especially because there are now so many apps that we use while driving that are on our phones, including GPS and streaming service applications.
Luckily, when it comes to calls, many new cars have hands-free options that allow drivers to answer calls without touching their phones. Some cars even have features that will read text messages to drivers through their car’s speakers.
There are very few calls that are important enough to risk getting in an accident on the road, so it’s best to wait until you park to check those notifications.