Year in Review: Region is revisiting some of the best Opinion articles of 2023. Here’s what got you talking, got you angry and got you thinking this year. Today, Ross Solly shares his thoughts about mobile phone detection cameras.
Sometimes you don’t need a mobile phone detection camera or clever AI technology to identify drivers using a mobile phone.
Some easy detection methods:
- They are always slow to move off when the lights turn green. Sometimes they don’t move at all. I guess those social media cat pictures are just far too interesting.
- Their speed varies dramatically as they choof down the highway, not even realising their speed is dropping dramatically every time they update their Insta story.
- Their car moves about erratically. Generally, it’s pretty easy for most of us to drive in a straight line and avoid veering into another lane (except when we hit one of Canberra’s famous potholes).
These people are a damn nuisance and a serious danger on the roads, and all power to those in authority who want to rid our roads of these menaces. We now have five detection cameras keeping a beady eye, or lens, on us as we potter around the suburbs. Three are mobile and very easy to spot, while two are fixed (Hindmarsh and Gungahlin Drives).
I know some are concerned this is George Orwell’s 1984 all over again, with mass surveillance keeping control of the everyday actions of the peasants while feeding us propaganda about road safety and privacy checks and balances.
We are right to ask questions. It’s a tricky balancing act, but if people using mobile phones while driving really have reached epidemic proportions in the ACT, sticking an eye in the sky to keep an eye on us might be the price we have to pay.
Just a word of warning … From what I’ve seen, the types of images these cameras can take, ostensibly to show a mobile phone sitting on your lap while driving, can also reveal if you’ve headed off to work or school creating a fashion crime.
At the bare minimum, we should all be encouraged to wear pants while driving. (My Grandma always told me it was important to wear clean underpants and pressed slacks every day because you never know when you might have a car accident. And this was years before governments started sticking up cameras that could actually detect if you are wearing pants. Grandma was years ahead of her time.)
And no more dropping the kids off to school in your undies, if that is your want on occasions.
I can plug my phone into my car’s audio and navigation system, which technically removes the need to hold or cradle my mobile. But I have one question: if, while I am waiting at the traffic lights, I need to change my navigation or key in a new destination, will I be pinged?
Will I lose three demerits and $498 (how did they come up with that figure, by the way? $500 sounds much more serious than $498, so why not just slap an extra two bucks on and be done with it?)
I guess if I become the motorist sitting at the lights after they turn green, I will deserve it. I hope if that day ever comes, I’m wearing neat slacks.