Mobile Phone Detection Cameras: Cameras targeting illegal phone use across NSW

 In March 2020, mobile phone detection cameras were introduced to target drivers illegally using a mobile phone on the roads.

The fixed or transportable cameras are high-definition, operating day, and night, that capture images of the front seats of all vehicles to detect illegal mobile phone use.

The artificial intelligence software automatically reviews images and detects potential offending drivers and excludes images of non-offending drivers from further action.

Images that are automatically deemed likely to contain a mobile phone offence will be verified by trained personnel. An authorised adjudicator will always check images to confirm that illegal mobile phone use has occurred before issuing a penalty notice.


Illegal Use

Section 300 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW) provides that you must not use your mobile phone while your vehicle is moving or is stationary but not parked.

This includes holding your mobile phone in your hand, even if it is locked and not operating.

Transport for NSW elaborates upon these rules and provides that:

You can use your mobile phone to make or receive an audio call or to perform an audio playing function if the phone is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle or you do not have to physically touch your phone to do so.

You can use your mobile phone for navigation so long as it is secured in a cradle fixed to the vehicle.

You can use your mobile phone to access your digital driver licence only after a police officer has asked you to do so.

You may also use your digital wallet function only if the vehicle is stationary and off the road (carpark, driveway or drive thru).


Get in touch with a criminal lawyer today.

Different Provisions for Learner, P1 and P2 Drivers

It is important to note that these provisions differ for learner, P1 and P2 licence holders.

If you are a learner, P1 or P2 licence holder you may not use your phone for audio phone calls or audio playing functions.

However, you may still access your digital licence upon request or use your wallet function if necessary.


The fine for illegal mobile phone use is $352, or $469 if detected in a school zone.

There is also a 5 demerit point penalty.

Penalty notices will typically be issued within a week of an offence being committed.

Options if you receive a penalty

If you are caught using your mobile phone illegally, you have three options:

  1. Pay the fine (and therefore accrue demerit points);
  2. Request a review of the fine by Revenue NSW;
  3. Elect to take the matter to Court.

If you decide to take the matter to Court (that is ‘elect’) on the matter, you cannot reverse that decision. Therefore, it is important to know when and why you might decide to take a matter to Court.

Considerations when determining if you should Court Elect

In some circumstances, if you are simply seeking that the fine amount be reduced, it may be best to consult Revenue NSW and enter a payment plan rather than Court elect on a matter. That is because there are several potential consequences if you take the matter to Court.

Maximum Penalty

It is important to note that is you take a fine to Court the maximum penalties that can be imposed by the Court are greater than the fine issued at first instance for the offence.

If you elect to take an infringement notice to Court, the maximum penalty the Court can impose is a fine of up to $2,200.

Impact on Criminal History

If you elect to have the matter heard in Court, you will be required to enter a plea. As the Court will need to record the outcome of the matter, if you plead guilty or are found guilty, the Court may record a conviction.

If you are convicted of the offence the demerit points will also be recorded.

Key Takeaways

Avoiding a Conviction

The only way to avoid a fine and the demerit points is to:

If you or someone you know needs advice or representation for a Court Election on a fine, contact the team at Hamilton Janke Lawyers- 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 4038 1666.

Photo: The Macleay Argus

Written By
Picture of Drew Hamilton
Drew Hamilton

Drew Hamilton is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers. Admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales as a Solicitor and also listed on the High Court of Australia register.