The drone command of the Brandenburg police successfully uses the aircraft to monitor the distances from trucks on motorways.
The police in Brandenburg are increasingly using camera drones to uncover distance violations. The command responsible for operating the drones is currently concentrating on distance violations by truck drivers on motorways. On Wednesday (July 6, 2022), the officials used a drone on the A2 between the Wollin and Brandenburg an der Havel junctions. They caught 24 distance sinners.
Minimum distance of 50 meters from 50 km/h
Trucks have to keep a minimum distance of 50 meters to the vehicle in front from a speed of 50 km/h - that is the distance between two highway delineators. The drone operates at heights of between 70 and 135 meters and uses its camera to keep an eye on calibrated highway markings. If the minimum distance is not reached, she documents it with a video recording. A report is sent to motorcycle police officers driving on the motorway, who guide the truck in question to a checkpoint of the special surveillance group. There, the officials then also check the technical condition of the vehicle, load securing and compliance with the rest and break times. During the control action mentioned, the police officers also discovered a driving time violation, three speed violations and an expired main inspection. A driver was driving without a valid driver's license.
Trucks pose a particularly high risk
For the distance violations alone, the convicted truck drivers must expect a fine of 80 euros and a point in Flensburg. The Brandenburg police emphasizes that compliance with minimum distances is particularly important for trucks. Because the minimum distances are not kept, serious accidents with injuries and high property damage occur again and again. In the first half of 2022, the police in West Brandenburg have already registered 32 truck accidents.
Expansion to federal roads planned
On the one hand, the police drone can also operate at night and, on the other hand, measure the distances between all road users. Although the officials are currently focusing their attention on trucks because of the particular danger, cars and motorcycles can also be monitored without any problems. In addition, an extension of the area of application to federal roads is planned - this is also about distance monitoring for trucks.
Drone much cheaper than helicopter
The professional drone used has a take-off weight of ten kilograms. When we asked, the Brandenburg police confirmed that the unmanned aerial vehicles do not fly over flowing traffic - they maintain minimum distances so that no third parties are endangered in the event of a crash. If liability damage occurs due to a fall, the state of Brandenburg assumes liability.According to a MOZ report, the model purchased by the police costs around 30,000 euros. It should have a range of up to 15 kilometers and be able to stay in the air for up to 55 minutes. Law enforcement agencies, emergency services and fire brigades use the drone type as well as companies that monitor high-voltage lines. The drone is difficult to detect, which is an advantage when monitoring truck traffic – truck drivers may use radios to warn each other of roadside surveillance systems. In addition, the use of a drone causes significantly lower costs than a helicopter flight, which costs 5,000 euros per flight hour. The Brandenburg police currently operate six drones and use them to monitor traffic on bodies of water. A use for the surveillance of cars or a round-the-clock surveillance is currently not planned.
The Brandenburg police are now also using drones to monitor traffic. Currently, these mainly measure the distance from trucks on motorways, as there are repeated cases of serious accidents with property damage and personal injury if the minimum distance that applies for trucks is not maintained. However, the drone can also measure the distances of all other road users. There are already plans to expand the area in which drones can be used to include federal roads – but here, too, it is currently only about measuring distances between trucks. The advantages of surveillance using drones include the significantly lower costs compared to helicopter use and the difficulty in detecting them compared to measuring systems positioned at the roadside.