Traffic management solutions Acusensus has developed an AI software to catch dangerous drivers who are using their mobile phones while on the road and identifies those who are not wearing seatbelts in the United Kingdom.
Acusensus has partnered with UK government body National Highways to use its patented solution to monitor driver behavior across motorways and major A-roads in Warwickshire.
A road-side sensor van, which can be relocated across the road network, is equipped with multiple cameras able to individually capture every passing vehicle, even at speeds of up to 300km/h (186m/h).
The AI software can instantly determine if drivers are using a hand-held device or if the driver or passenger are wearing a seatbelt.
UK government figures show there were 420 collisions in 2019 due to mobile phone distraction. Separate figures show failure to wear a seatbelt has been attributed to one in four road deaths in the UK.
“Sadly, there are still drivers who do not feel the need to wear a seatbelt, become distracted by their phones or travel too close to the vehicle in front. We want to see if we can change driver behavior and therefore improve road safety for everyone,” National Highways head of road safety Jeremy Phillips said.
Acusensus’s camera software has already been deployed in NSW, recording a 22% drop in fatalities based on previous trends since the mobile phone detection program launched in 2019.
The company launched mobile phone and seatbelt detection program in Queensland in 2021 and recorded a 10% drop in fatalities in the first six months, and last month turned on the cameras for the mobile phone and seatbelt detection program in WA.
Acusensus founder and managing director Alexander Jannink said he was confident the three-month UK camera trial would produce similarly successful results.
“Since introducing our technology in New South Wales two years ago, 121 road deaths have been avoided compared to previous trends. Distracted driver and seatbelt compliance is a universal problem with devastating impacts. Research indicates that mobile phone-related distraction is killing an estimated 100,000 people a year globally and injuring five million more,” Jannink said.
In addition to cutting road trauma, Jannink said mobile camera systems had a positive effect on drivers’ long-term behavior.
“What’s been notable from the Australian experience has been the change in behavior observed across the longer term, with improved seatbelt compliance and substantially reduced mobile phone use, even after the mobile cameras have been relocated to alternative sites,” he said.
UK offenders captured during the trial will be sent warning letters, although Warwickshire Police inspector Jem Mountford warned drivers not to be complacent.
“During the trial, the most serious breaches may be prosecuted, with others receiving warning letters, giving us the opportunity to explain how they have been caught and asking them to change their behavior. Next time they may not be so lucky,” Mountford warned.
Acusensus operates camera detection programs in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia, as well as in several international jurisdictions.
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