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Eagle-eyed cops hone in on phones in cars

Victorian police are cracking down on drivers who use their phone behind the wheel thanks to new camera technology that allows cops to spy out offenders from afar.

After Western Australia introduced double demerits for drivers caught using their mobile behind the wheel, Victoria is employing new technology to crack down on those using a phone while they drive.

The state will be using a long-lens camera known as the Ranger to keep an eye on motorists over the Easter and Anzac Day holiday period. The Ranger is able to detect motorists using mobile phones and those not wearing seatbelts from up to 700 metres away.

Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said the use of the camera would be part of a 13-day holiday blitz that would see police "saturating" Victorian roads.

"This is one of the most significant road policing operations conducted in this state over the Easter period," Hill said. "We know motorists are quick to put their phone down and put their seatbelt on when they see a police car. With this long lens camera, we will see them first.

"Over the past five years, 1385 people have suffered as a result of 1018 collisions on Victorian roads. That means 22 people have been killed, 528 have suffered life threatening or life changing injuries and 835 suffered minor injuries.

"We know that during this time people will be travelling to see family and friends, they will be on unfamiliar roads, driving long distances with distractions in the car. These factors are what result in terrifying collisions."