NSW in Australia rolls out mobile detection cameras

Ruben Fields
December 3, 2019

The Australian state of New South Wales rolled out "high definition detection cameras" on Sunday, created to catch drivers using cell phones behind the wheel.

"It's a system to change the culture", NSW police assistant commissioner Michael Corboy said last week.

The government has said that for three months from the date of commencement, drivers caught by a mobile phone detection camera will receive a warning letter.

Making and receiving phone calls while driving is legal in New South Wales, but using hands-free technology.

According to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, it's illegal to hold and use your phone while driving or riding.

Some 329 people have died this year on New South Wales' roads, Reuters news agency reported, compared with 354 people for all of 2018, according to official statistics.

"As we enter a notoriously unsafe 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", Constance said in a statement.

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But just how are we allowed to use our phones when driving? After that, the penalty will be a A$344 ($233) standard fine and a A$457 fine in a school zone.

NSW transport minister Andrew Constance said the fixed and mobile trailer-mounted cameras will target illegal mobile phone use as part of a broader goal to reduce the number of deaths on state roads. Officials said that a trial of the technology earlier in the year had caught more than 1,00,000 drivers illegally using a phone at the wheel.

The NSW government hopes to expand the programme to perform some 135 million vehicle checks by 2023.

The high-definition cameras, which are in both regional and metropolitan areas, operate around the clock taking pictures of the front seats of all vehicles to capture drivers using mobile phones.

Government modelling found that the phone detection cameras could prevent 100 fatal and serious injuries over five years.

The world's first mobile phone detection camera regime was rolled out in Australia on Sunday in a bid to reduce the number of fatalities arising from phone-related crashes.

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