End of grace period for mobile phone detection cameras

Driving with mobile phones
Mobile phone detection camera real life shot - NSW

Mobile phone detection cameras in New South Wales came into operation in December 2019 around the state.

Unlike speed and red light cameras, the mobile phone detection cameras uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect illegal phone use. It can operate in all weather conditions including fog and wet weather.

The AI technology will capture an image of the front seats and is then later reviewed by a human to verify an offence has been made.

A three month grace period was in place from December, whereby drivers would receive warning letters only. There were no fines or demerit points issued during this time. However, from March 1, drivers caught by a mobile phone detection camera will be fined and receive demerit points.

The penalty for illegally operating a mobile phone while driving is $344 or $457, if detected in a school zone. You'll also be penalised five demerit points, this will double to ten during double demerit periods.

However, there will be 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, as well as using it in a drive-through service situation.

Responding to key NRMA recommendations from Can't Talk Driving report the NSW Government will be enforcing tougher penalties and new camera technology to catch people using their phones illegally.

However, the Government will introduce the cameras without warning signs and the NRMA feels this is an opportunity lost to drive home the safety message of not using your phone illegally. 

The NSW government said it would “progressively expand” to perform 135 million vehicle checks by 2023. With independent modelling showing that these cameras could prevent around 100 fatal and serious injury crashes over five years.

For more information about the Mobile Phone Detection Camera Program please click here.

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