New cameras will catch you using your mobile phone illegally while driving
The Australian state of NSW will become the first place in the world to rollout cameras to detect mobile phones being used illegally by motorists while they are driving.
The $88 million project follows a six month trial period where cameras were set up in two locations.
From December when the rollout is completed there will be 45 high definition cameras across NSW that use a special algorithm and artificial intelligence to recognise mobile phones in the hands of drivers.
Most cameras will be fixed while others will be mobile and mounted on trailers.
In Australia it is illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving.
By law, a smartphone must be resting in a mount if it is in view of the driver and can be used for calls hands free only through a Bluetooth connection.
Users are allowed to use the device while the mount for navigation or audio playback but texting is strictly forbidden until you are parked with the engine turned off.
NSW State Minister for Roads Andrew Constance says drivers being distracted by their mobile devices is putting lives in danger.
“This is as dangerous as drink driving,” Mr Constance told 2GB’s John Stanley.
“We’re not going to disclose with warning signs that you’re about to be picked up by the camera.
“We need everyone to change their behaviour and the element of surprise, like with random breath testing, is the best way to go.”
During the trial period, more than 8.5 million drivers were checked with more 100,000 drivers caught using their phones illegally.
When the rollout is completed in December, there will be a three month grace period where anyone caught using their phones illegally while driving before the end of March, will be issued with a warning.
The penalty for being caught using your mobile device will be $344 and five demerit points.
To avoid privacy concerns, all photographs taken by the cameras of drivers not breaking the law with their mobile devices will be deleted within two days.