Hanoi has set up 40 cameras to catch traffic violations and will add over 400 more to its downtown by the end of this year.
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Tai from the Hanoi Traffic Police Department said they've just fined a driver caught by one of the cameras.
Tran Van Nghiep, 40, cut off another vehicle on the afternoon of September 21.
His maneuver caused no accident, but the police later summoned Nghiep to pay a VND2.5 million (US$118) fine and revoked his license for two months.
Nghiep said he did not think that he would have any problems because there wasn't a police officer in sight.
He had no idea that Hanoi Police began implementing a more than VND230 billion (US$10.85 million) camera project to catch such drivers by surprise in early October.
The cameras are incorporated into traffic lights and programmed to capture traffic violations, the vehicles’ license plates, the date and time, as well as to measure traffic flow.
Officers then print out the photos and send them to the vehicle's registered owner to summon them for punishment.
Major Pham Quang Minh who is the second in charge of managing traffic lights in Hanoi, said smart cameras automatically notice and record traffic violations such as drivers blowing through red lights, driving in the wrong lane or driving a motorbike without a crash helmet.
Lt. Col. Tai said the cameras will serve as an additional deterrent.
One challenge to the measure, he noted, is that some problem drivers use old vehicles and haven't updated their registrations.
“In those cases it can cost a lot of time to track down the actual driver,” he said.
Ho Chi Minh City's Police Department invested VND270 billion ($12.74 million) in a similar system for District 1.
In cases where traffic violations cause chaos or have criminal implications, actual officers will be dispatched to the site immediately, a source said.
The officer said the Ministry of Public Security is conducting a survey to determine the best spots in which to install traffic surveillance cameras .
Since last year, HCMC police have punished some 8,800 traffic violations with help from the cameras and collected more than VND16.6 billion ($783,390) in fines.