Zoom lens captures drivers in the act
Victoria Police aim to catch drivers using mobile phones, putting on makeup or eating behind the wheel over the Easter holiday period with the new "Ranger" camera which can record up 700 metres away.PT2M35S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-36pb1 620 349 April 15, 2014
A futuristic new camera that can detect drivers who tweet, text or talk on their mobile phones from 700 metres away will come into use on Tuesday.
Victoria Police will use the 13-day Easter and Anzac Day holiday period to trial the country's first mobile camera, called the "Ranger", which can be used to nab drivers using phones or not wearing seat belts long before they spot the camera.
The camera will also nab motorists who drive carelessly while applying make-up or eating at the wheel.
Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said this was one of the "most significant road policing operations conducted in this state over the Easter period".
"We know motorists are quick to put their phone down and put their seatbelt on when they see a police car," he said.
"With this long-lens camera, we will see them first."
Motorists could be fined for looking distracted and for taking their eyes off the road, regardless of whether they were holding a mobile phone at the time, Assistant Commissioner Hill said.
"History tells us that we experience significant trauma on our roads during the Easter holiday break," he said.
“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."
Under penalties introduced late last year, drivers caught using mobile phones will be hit with hefty fines of $433 and four demerit points. Drivers on a full licence who accumulate 12 demerit points in three years can lose their licence.
Assistant Commissioner Hill said police received the cameras last year, and officers were now sufficiently trained to use them on the roads.
He said the long weekend will pose a threat to lives as people travel long distances 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."
The Easter and Anzac campaigns begin on Tuesday and conclude on Sunday, April 27.