Big fines and no warning signs for new mobile cameras
World-first mobile phone detection cameras are being rolled out across NSW, with transport authorities hoping to cut the number of fatalities on our roads by a third over two years.
A mix of 10 fixed and portable mobile phone detection cameras are being installed from December 1 with another 35 planned over the next four years.
The cameras use artificial intelligence to review images and detect illegal use of the devices. The system works night or day and in any weather conditions.
Images that the automated system identifies as likely to contain a driver illegally using a mobile phone are verified by authorised personnel.
Unlike with speed cameras, there will be no warning signs to alert drivers to the presence of the mobile detection cameras.
Making or receiving voice calls while driving in NSW is only allowed when using a hands-free device. Drivers cannot put the phone up to their ear, or rest it on their lap on speaker.
All other functions, such as video calling, using social media and photography, are illegal while behind the wheel.
To use a mobile phone, you must be parked out of the line of traffic. However, the ignition does not need to be turned off.
Restricted licences holders including learner, P1 and P2 drivers and riders are not permitted to use their phone at all while driving or riding. This includes use of hands-free and Bluetooth functions.
For the first three months after the detection systems are in operation, offending drivers will be issued warning letters.
After that, the penalty will be a A$344 standard fine, and a A$457 fine in a school zone with five demerit point penalty.
Double demerits apply to mobile phone offences and will be in force over the Christmas and New Year period from December 20 to January 1, 2020.