Mobile detection cameras in New South Wales have wrapped up their first week of operation with 3,303 drivers caught breaking the law. More than 773,500 vehicles were scanned during the seven-day period.
The world-first technology was pushed live across the state at the beginning of December 2019. Figures from the first week were released on Tuesday for the period of December 1 and December 7 show that NSW drivers have a serious problem with mobile-phone usage while behind the wheel.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Lucas Heights mobile detection cameras were identified as the biggest problem areas, with 179 and 210 detections respectively across a four-day period.
NSW Roads Minister, Andrew Constance, said that drivers who are caught with their phones in the first 3-months of the new initiative will be issued with a warning letter in the mail, instead of a fine.
“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," said Constance.
“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.”
From March 1, 2020, NSW drivers caught using their phone while driving will be hit with a fine of $344 ($457 in school zones) and a five-demerit point penalty.
Unlike speed cameras in New South Wales, the mobile detection cameras are portable, and motorists will not be warned of their presence ahead of time.
The mobile detection camera technology is an Australian initiative developed by Melbourne University graduate, Alexander Jannink, after a close friend was killed by a distracted driver who was alleged to be using his phone at the time of the accident.
There are currently 10 fixed and mobile cameras being used across New South Wales; however, this number is expected to increase significantly over the new few years.