Understanding Mobile Safety Cameras: How They Improve Road Safety


As the summer holidays approach, you may come across peculiar-looking white or yellow boxes on the side of the road. These mobile road safety cameras, equipped with cameras and road safety slogans, are designed to catch motorists engaging in various unsafe behaviors, including speeding, using mobile phones while driving, and failing to wear seat belts.

Australia witnesses approximately 1,200 car crash fatalities each year, with the number of serious injuries rising from 34,000 in 2011 to around 39,000 in 2019. While changes in hospital reporting may partially explain this increase, it is concerning that these numbers show nao signs of declining.

Speeding, drunk or drugged driving, fatigue, distraction, and dangerous driving behaviors significantly increase the risk of accidents. Moreover, failure to wear seat belts can lead to more severe injuries in case of a crash. In order to reduce the number of accidents caused by these behaviors, it is crucial to enforce compliance with road rules and promote safer driving. This is where safety cameras play a vital role.

Safety cameras were first introduced in Australia in 1985 with the implementation of speed cameras in Victoria. Over the years, the use of safety cameras has expanded to include fixed red light and speed cameras, mobile speed cameras that can be relocated to different locations, and point-to-point cameras, commonly known as average speed cameras.

While mobile phone detection cameras have been implemented in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, the ACT, and Tasmania in the past three years, they have also undergone trials in Western Australia. South Australia is set to introduce these cameras in the near future, and New South Wales plans to use them for seat belt enforcement by 2024, joining Queensland and Tasmania, currently the only states utilizing them for this purpose.

Safety cameras, whether fixed or mobile, are used to target speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors. Fixed cameras are permanently placed and operate continuously, primarily focusing on speeding and red light running. On the other hand, mobile cameras, often seen as roadside trailers, can be moved to different areas and deployed at any time. They mainly target speeding and can also be mounted on vehicles or tripods.

Trailer-based safety cameras can be left unattended for extended periods and are equipped with security measures such as alarms, security cameras, and secure housing to prevent tampering and vandalism. These cameras are typically placed in areas with a history of accidents or where speeding, distraction, restraint use, or general safety is a concern.

Safety cameras utilize radar or laser technology to detect and measure vehicle speeds, while sensors embedded in the road detect red light running. They are equipped with high-definition cameras that are effective in various lighting and weather conditions, including night, fog, and heavy rain. Some cameras can also identify and enforce speed limits specific to different types of vehicles.

Automated number plate recognition capabilities are also incorporated in safety cameras to detect and identify vehicles of interest to law enforcement, such as stolen, unregistered, or unlicensed vehicles. Point-to-point cameras measure the average speed of vehicles between two points, capturing data as vehicles pass the camera locations at the beginning and end of the zone. Currently fixed, it is likely that portable cameras will also be used for point-to-point enforcement in the future.

Mobile phone detection cameras employ high-definition cameras and infrared lighting to detect illegal use of mobile phones through windshields. They can also determine correct seat belt usage and measure vehicle speed using number plate recognition. As a result, these cameras can effectively enforce multiple traffic violations. They can be either fixed or mobile.

While studies on the effectiveness of mobile phone detection cameras are yet to be conducted, the introduction of these cameras in New South Wales led to a significant decline in mobile phone usage over three years. Additionally, enforcement data demonstrates that these cameras efficiently detect infringements.

Relying solely on common sense, courtesy, or self-interest is insufficient to reduce the harm caused by reckless driving behaviors. Safety cameras play a crucial role in improving road safety by promoting compliance with road rules. A systematic review indicates that speed cameras effectively reduce average speeds, the number of speeding vehicles, and the occurrence of serious injuries and fatalities by approximately 20% each.

In conclusion, safety cameras are essential in reducing dangerous driving behaviors and creating safer roads for all motorists

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it