New Camera Technology Could Help Catch Distracted Drivers
Montgomery County in Maryland is looking into camera technology that can be used to catch distracted drivers. According to a WAMU news report, a bill that is making its way to state legislature would allow the county to deploy automated cameras to catch distracted drivers and issue tickets. If allowed by the state, the county would then have to vote to use the technology. In fact, it would become one of the first municipalities in the United States to do so.
How Will the Technology Work?
These cameras would work much like the red light cameras used to catch red-light runners. The cameras would be mounted on poles or other county vehicles and would capture footage of drivers’ side windows. Artificial intelligence would then help officers identify the offense following which tickets would be mailed out to the offending drivers. Officials say the fines resulting from these violations could be used to pay for bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements.
The plan does have its opponents. Privacy is a huge concern for opponents as is how the tech would work and whom it would affect. The camera tech officials in Maryland are proposing has been used in Australia, but never in the United States. New South Wales in Australia is implementing the tech after a six-month pilot. They found more than 100,000 instances of drivers using their phones illegally out of 8.5 million vehicles scanned.
The Problem of Distracted Driving
Maryland has banned cell phone use while driving since 2013. Officials are hoping that the cameras will make people think twice before using their phones behind the wheel and save money on police enforcement. Distracted driving is a major problem on our nation’s roadways.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,166 lives in 2017 alone. Cellphone use, particularly texting, is considered the most dangerous because it causes drivers to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel and their mind away from the act of driving.
It remains to be seen if this distracted driving camera technology catches on in California and the rest of the United States, and whether it proves to be an effective deterrent to curb the problem of distracted driving in our country. It is also important to remember that distracted drivers who cause car accidents and injuries can also be held financially responsible for their actions. An experienced California car accident lawyer can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.