If you have ever found yourself using your mobile phone while driving, it’s time to kick that bad habit for the safety of others and now to avoid severe penalties.

That’s right, mobile phone detection cameras have been in operation in New South Wales since 1 March 2020. Do you know anyone that’s been caught? Find out more below.

What are mobile phone detection cameras?

Unlike speed and red-light cameras, mobile phone detection cameras use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect illegal phone use. They can operate in all weather conditions, including fog and heavy rain.

The system uses AI to automatically review images and detect offending drivers, and to exclude images of non-offending drivers from further action. Images that the automated system considers likely to contain a driver illegally using a mobile phone are reviewed by authorised personnel.

How are the mobile phone detection cameras being rolled out and what are the penalties?

The cameras were introduced in News South Wales as a trial on 1 December 2019 before becoming fully operational from 1 March 2020. The NSW Government said it would progressively expand the program to perform 135 million vehicle checks by 2022–2023.

Drivers caught by a mobile phone detection camera in NSW will be fined $349, or $464 if detected in a school zone, and receive five demerit points (this will double to 10 demerit points during double demerit periods).
The detection cameras will be introduced in the ACT in the second half of 2021.

When can a driver legally use a mobile phone in a car?

Drivers can use their mobile phone to make or answer a call and use audio playing functions (e.g. music) only if the phone is:

• Is in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure their view of the road; or
• Can be operated without touching any part of the phone, such as via Bluetooth or voice activation.

Using a mobile phone for driver’s aids (e.g. GPS) is only allowed while secured in a cradle.

There are allowances for mobile phone use in the car. These concessions include using a phone in a cradle with Bluetooth, handling a phone while passing it to a passenger, and using a phone while the vehicle is stationary in a drive-through service situation.


Source: NRMA.