Police trial new long-lens camera

Camera detects drivers 500 metres away

A NEW piece of technology is helping Bendigo police catch risky drivers from a distance.

The Ranger Concept Camera is being trialled in Victoria, with Bendigo the first region in the state to test the new long-lens camera.

Bendigo Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Paul Gardiner said the camera had the ability to detect drivers breaking the law 500 metres away, giving police the capacity to "see from a distance".

"We know that (when) people talk on their mobile phones (it is a) huge distraction," he said.

"We know people not wearing seatbelts is also a risk.

"(This technology is about) detecting  people doing the wrong thing before they can see us."

The camera works using a high-powered lens and records footage of oncoming motorists on a video screen.

Police detect drivers breaking the law and are able to pull them over and deal with the offence. 

Senior Sergeant Gardiner said risky behaviour included talking on a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt, applying make-up or eating at the wheel.

He said the technology had proved a success in Bendigo so far during the trial.

He said police hoped the technology prompted a change in the behaviour of motorists.

"What we find  is because we are  highly-visible (people) don't change their behaviours," he said.

"(The new  technology comes as) a little bit of shock to them because we have caught them doing the wrong thing and they are not aware until we have actually pulled them over.

"Our feel is it will change their behaviours and the things they are doing on the roads."

He said there were too many collisions in Bendigo and they were happening too often. 

"It is that minority that are doing the wrong thing that we need to target," he said. 

"I acknowledge the vast majority of motorists do the right thing and we are seeing a lot more people pulling over to the side of the road and talking on their mobile phones." 

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