Transport NSW has announced that ‘world first’ mobile phone cameras NSW will be installed across the state by December.

The mobile phone cameras are designed to capture images of drivers who are illegally using their phones whilst driving.

The announcement follows the success of a 6-month trial conducted earlier this year.


Results from the trial

Two mobile phone detection cameras were installed in fixed spots between January – June 2019.

The cameras surveyed 8.5 million vehicles. Of the 8.5 million filmed, Transport NSW alleges that 100,000 drivers were captured illegally using their mobile phone while driving.

Drivers were not fined during the trial. If they had been, it is estimated that the new technology would have raised $34.5 million in fines.


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How Mobile Phone Cameras in NSW work

The cameras use artificial intelligence to review high-definition images of drivers.

The system detects drivers that may be using a mobile phone illegally and sends these images to authorised personnel for verification.

Locations of Mobile Phone Cameras NSW

The Government has announced that 45 cameras will be placed around NSW.

Some cameras will be in fixed locations, while others will be mounted to relocatable trailers.

Unlike mobile speed cameras, drivers will receive no warning if they are approaching a phone detection camera.

Fines for Mobile Phone Cameras NSW

While the cameras will operate from December 2019, the Government has announced a 3-month grace period. This means that for the first three months, drivers will only receive a warning letter if they are detected by the camera.

Once the grace period ends, drivers will be fined for illegal mobile phone use. At present, drivers caught using their mobile phone illegally are fined $344 ($457 if they’re caught in a school zone). Drivers also incur 5 demerit points.

What The Law Says About Mobile Phone Cameras NSW

It is an offence under rule 300 of the Road Rules 2014  to use a mobile phone illegally while driving.

The rule states that the driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while their vehicle is moving or is stationary but not parked unless:

  • The phone is being used in an audio function (such as receiving a phone call or playing music) and the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle
  • The phone is not being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver to touch the phone at any time

The law outlines that your vehicle must be out of the line of traffic and parked before a driver is permitted to use their mobile phone in any other way.

What behaviour is prohibited?

It is illegal to use your mobile phone in the following circumstances:

  • While waiting at traffic lights
  • While stuck in traffic
  • Making/receiving a call on loudspeaker if your phone is in your lap
  • Sending a text message, checking emails, taking photos etc

In addition to the circumstances above, it is illegal for P1 or P2 licence holders to use their mobile phones in the following ways while driving:

  • Listening to music with your phone secured in a cradle
  • Using the GPS function on a mobile phone

Key Takeaways

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Written By
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James Janke

James Janke is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers, and has more then decade of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. Admitted to both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia