Thousands of motorists have been caught illegally using their phone while driving during week one of the NSW Government’s mobile phone detection camera program.
From Sunday 1 to Saturday 7 December, 3,303 drivers were caught breaking the law by fixed and mobile trailer-mounted cameras at various locations across the state.
Minister for Roads Andrew Constance said those drivers captured through 773,532 vehicle checks could count themselves lucky to be only receiving a warning letter.
“At 60km/h if you look at your phone while driving for just two seconds, you travel 33 metres blind – it’s dangerous, it’s stupid and it needs to stop,” Mr Constance said.
“Around 500 drivers a day are getting pinged by these cameras doing the wrong thing. With double demerits starting Friday we need drivers to get the message and get off the phone, otherwise they risk killing themselves or someone innocent on our roads.
“I’d like to thank drivers doing the right thing, we have seen a reduction in the noncompliance rate by two thirds since we first trialed the technology earlier this year.”
The camera pilot between January and June identified over 100,000 drivers illegally using a mobile phone while driving from the 8,500,000 vehicles checked.
Until the start of March 2020, drivers caught by a mobile phone detection camera will receive a warning letter. When the warning phase ends drivers will cop a $344 fine, or $457 in a school zone, and five demerit points – 10 during double demerit periods.
Executive Director of Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety Bernard Carlon said independent modelling shows the latest addition to the Government’s road safety program could prevent around 100 fatal and serious injury crashes over five years.
“We need to see a steep behavioral change from motorists to save lives. While drivers caught on camera get a warning now, NSW Police will continue to issue fines for illegal mobile phone use as part of their regular operations,” Mr Carlon said.
The mobile phone detection camera program will progressively expand to perform an estimated 135 million vehicle checks on NSW roads each year by 2023.