Police trialling a new long-range camera have already caught a Victorian driver for not wearing a seat belt – from 700 metres away.
The Ranger camera, the first of its type in Australia, captured the driver minus seatbelt within 15 minutes of being used on Tuesday.
Victoria Police Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said it was easy for officers to spot irresponsible drivers.
“The Ranger technology captures a driver up to 700 metres away and we can clearly see through the lens if that person is on the mobile phone or they’re not wearing a seat belt,” Mr Hill told reporters.
Twenty-three people who died on Victorian roads last year were not wearing a seat belt.
“They died for no other reason because they did not have a restraint that was operating at the time of the collision,” Mr Hill said.
The driver caught not wearing a seatbelt was fined $289 and will lose three demerit points.
The camera can also record distracted drivers, from using a mobile phone to eating or putting on make-up.
“The data is suggesting at this point, anything between 10 and 20 per cent of road trauma is caused by distraction,” Mr Hill said.
Previous hand-held devices focused on the vehicle while the Ranger zooms in on the driver, recording up to nine seconds of their behaviour which can be downloaded and used in court, Mr Hill said.
The technology also includes a speed measurement capability but this would not be used as the laws would need to be changed, he said.
The cameras will be trialled over the Easter and Anzac Day holiday period in Melbourne and country Victoria.
“People need to appreciate that these cameras could be anywhere at any time,” Mr Hill said.