NSW Announces World First Phone Detection Cameras

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

The 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.

How do the cameras 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.

Where will the cameras be located?

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.

Will I be fined?

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 is the law?

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

Charged with a traffic offence?

Hamilton Janke Lawyers has extensive experience in traffic matters and can advise you of your rights. If you, or a loved one, has been charged with a traffic offence contact Hamilton Janke Lawyers 24/7 on 4038 1666.


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