Canadian Mounties Bring Out the Big Guns – or Cameras, Rather – To Bust Texting Drivers

Each year in the United States, some 3,100 people die and another 424,000 are injured in car crashes blamed at least in part on distracted drivers. And all too often, that distraction involves someone texting while behind the wheel. Law enforcement and safety officials in countries around the globe all are looking for ways to curb this roadway scourge, and Canada just may have a solid solution.

In British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known informally as the Mounties, are rocking the roadways with a new traffic surveillance system that uses powerful spotting scopes mated to high-definition digital SLR cameras. These cameras have a resolution of 24.4 megapixels and are equipped with a fast 50mm lens. When attached to the spotting scope, these badass rigs can see objects upwards of a mile away. That means Mounties can spot dastardly distracted drivers long before those drivers see them. 

"It's not always safe or it doesn't always make sense to stand where drivers can see us," Constable Wutke told reporters. "So we'll stand back where we're not necessarily being noticed right off the bat and we'll train the scope on the windshield of the vehicle so as vehicles are coming up, stopped at a light, or stopped at a stop sign, we can be looking inside that vehicle and then, when we see a violator, we can have them pulled over once they're back on their way again."

No word as to whether the technology ultimately is headed to the US, but we sure could use it. Research by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows that, at any given daylight moment, 660,000 drivers are using their phones or otherwise manipulating electronic devices while behind the wheel.

We here at E3 Spark Plugs urge to turn off your mobile toys and pay attention to the roadways. Be safe out there!