Germany To Use Specialized Cameras to Catch Drivers Using Smartphones
Distracted driving is one of the top causes of auto accidents in the United States. According to the CDC, distracted driving resulted in 3,100 deaths and 424,000 injuries in 2019. Of those who died in a crash involving a distracted driver, 1 in 5 were pedestrians, bicyclists, or outside a vehicle.
Apparently, this is an issue in other parts of the world as well. Germany is experiencing similar problems in which police caught 3,100 drivers using their phones while actively behind the wheel. Authorities believe that texting while driving has the equivalent amount of effective driving skills as someone with twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system.
In an effort to reduce the amount of distracted driving, the European country will be implementing a new kind of traffic camera system that can detect if a driver is using their smartphone.
“In 2021 alone, there were 1,001 accidents caused by distraction, among other things due to cell phone use while driving,” says State Interior Minister Roger Lewentz. “By using the new camera, we expect a further increase in road safety.”
This new camera technology functions in the same manner as a speed camera. But rather than focus on taking a snapshot of your license plate, it will take a photo through the windshield by determining if the driver is seen holding a device.
Test cameras were installed in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate where ten offenders were caught within an hour of operation.
Countries like Australia and Holland have also been using similar phone detection cameras to tackle the same issue.
Convinced by the effectiveness of the technology, German officials will implement the cameras into a three-month pilot program in Trier starting on June 1st, 2022. Depending on the final results, officials will determine if they will continue or cease the program. If caught, offenders will result in a fine of€100 ($105 USD) and 1 strike on the offender’s license.