Big Brother is watching you Whatsapp while driving from Monday

Campaign image Photo: Dutch government, with permission
The cameras in action. Photo: OM

Smart cameras will start photographing all drivers on certain roads in the Netherlands to check if they are holding their mobile phone while behind the wheel, the public prosecutor’s office has announced.

The crackdown, which will start on Monday, is necessary because distracted drivers are causing an increasing number of accidents, the public prosecutor’s office said. Using a mobile phone while driving is an offence in the Netherlands, unless using a hands-free kit, and subject to a €240 fine.

The cameras, which are already in use in Australia, photograph everyone behind the wheel and send an automatic notification to the government’s fines collection agency if they register an infringement.

The cameras are positioned in such a way as to register only the driver’s hands, and car licence plate, the department said. They also operate in all weathers and in the dark.

The system has already been tested using two cameras and some 400 people were photographed holding their phones behind the wheel in a single day, the department said.

The Netherlands is the first country in Europe to use the new system.

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