Lights, camera, detection: Drivers beware

Published

Drivers using a mobile phone illegally risk being caught on camera when the NSW Government’s mobile phone detection cameras switch on this Sunday 1 December.

Minister for Roads Andrew Constance said the world-first safety technology will target illegal mobile phone use by drivers through fixed and mobile trailer-mounted cameras.

“The NSW Government is serious about reducing our state’s road toll and rolling out mobile phone detection cameras is another way we will do this,” Mr Constance said.

“As we enter a notoriously dangerous time of the year on our roads I want all drivers to know that if you use your mobile phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle in NSW you will have a greater chance of being caught, anywhere at anytime.

“Some people have not got the message about using their phones legally and safely. If they think they can continue to put the safety of themselves, their passengers and the community at risk without consequence they are in for a rude shock.”

For the first three months, drivers caught by a mobile phone detection camera will receive a warning letter. After that drivers will cop a $344 fine, or a $457 fine in a school zone, and five demerit points - 10 during double demerit periods.

Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole said the program will progressively expand to perform an estimated 135 million vehicle checks on NSW roads each year by 2023.

“The decision to pick up your phone can have fatal consequences. Whether you’re driving on a major highway or an isolated road in the bush, there’s no excuse for using your phone illegally – and from Sunday, there’s a much greater chance of getting nabbed,” Mr Toole said.

Executive Director of Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety Bernard Carlon said a trial of cameras earlier this year caught over 100,000 drivers illegally using a phone.

“Independent modelling has shown these cameras could prevent around 100 fatal and serious injury crashes over five years,” Mr Carlon said. “There is strong community support for more enforcement, with 80 per cent of people surveyed supporting use of detection cameras to stop illegal mobile phone use.” 

NSW Police will continue to enforce illegal mobile phone use and issue infringements as part of regular operations during the warning phase of the camera program.

For more details on the program visit http://mobilephoneroadrules.com.au.