19 Dec 2019

New Technology In Australia Can Catch People Texting While Driving, May Come To US

It takes only three seconds of driver distraction to get into a serious or even potentially fatal accident.  According to research conducted by Virginia Tech, anyone who texts behind the wheel is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than someone who doesn’t text while driving.

According to a recent report appearing on the ABC 15 website in Phoenix, Australian law enforcement agencies are now using cameras that can catch drivers in the act of texting and driving. Now, government officials in at least the U.S. state want to see that same technology being used in this country.

Councilmember in Montgomery County, Maryland, is pushing to have these cameras installed in the state that can show what is happening in the front seat of a vehicle, mainly when it involves texting while behind the wheel.

Most states already have laws on their books that prohibit the use of cellphones for texting or even phone calls while driving even when stopped at a traffic light.  The cameras and artificial intelligence will show whether a driver has something in their hand that could be a smartphone or a similar device that can lead to distracted driving.

Groups such as the ACLU have expressed concern that in spite of the technology being used, false positives could be created in employing these cameras. A senior policy analyst with the ACLU, Jay Stanley, recently told reporters, “There will be photographs where it looks like the person is using their cellphone or on the phone when they’re actually not.”

Additionally, John Townsend of AAA also expressed concerns that photographs could be taken of children who are also in the vehicle at the time and suggests other options to the cameras.  According to Townsend, distracted drivers exhibit the same types of behaviors as those who are driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. “When it comes to distracted driving, the person’s eyes are not on the roadway,” Townsend said. “You can easily detect that.”

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