+ Monday December 16th, 2019

NSW drivers are being put on notice: new mobile phone detection cameras are going live this weekend in NSW, with our other states looking to follow New South Wales’ lead in this new technology.

The new mobile phone detection cameras were announced back in 2018 by the NSW Government, with plans to roll the cameras out more widely over the next two years to reduce fatalities on NSW roads by up to 30%.

According to Transport for NSW, the program will introduce both fixed and transportable trailer-mounted cameras that can roam around the city and regional road network, in a bid to target drivers using their mobile phones illegally whilst driving their cars.

Unlike speed cameras though, there’s been no public announcement of where these cameras will be, making it seem much more like a cash grab than an actual deterrent. The nature of the technology, though, means the cameras will require a fairly high vantage, making their placement likely on gantries, tall signs, etc. rather than lower, street-level cameras.

During a trial earlier this year, some 8.5 million vehicles were scanned by the new technology, and more than 100,000 drivers were caught doing the wrong thing. During the trial, no fines were issued, and for the first three months of the rollout now, only warning letters will be sent. After that, though, come fines in the hundreds of dollars along with five demerit points for anyone doing the wrong thing.

These cameras will make the NSW Government some serious money, too. Projections are the cameras will rake up some $35 million dollars in the first year of operation, and with no warning signs about where the cameras are or will be, drivers who do the wrong thing are going to get caught. Colloquial experience around Sydney especially suggests that drivers just aren’t getting the message – or don’t care – with mobile phone use a common, common sight on Sydney’s roads.

Minister for transport and roads in NSW, Andrews Constance, has said that:

“We have to unfortunately use the element of surprise to get people to think ‘well, I could get caught at any time’,” and that “I want behaviour to change and I want it changed immediately. It’s not about revenue — it’s about saving lives.”

To catch out naughty drivers, the new cameras will use artificial intelligence (AI) to help determine if someone in the front of the vehicle and specifically behind the wheel is using their mobile phone and will be able to catch drivers out round the clock, day or night.

The new cameras start operating on 1 December 2019, with fines commencing in March 2020.

Source: 9 News Sydney.

Alex Dennis   Associate

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By day, Alex works within the Industrial Relations field/occupation but by night and in his spare down time he searches the net for anything and everything relating to Android and Chrome related products and news.

Other various interests Alex has include, Accessible transport for people with disabilities along with LGBTIQ and Health related fields and interests for again for people with disabilities.

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Simon
Guest
Simon

As a diving instructor, I think this is a brilliant idea. And the people worried about there being no signs, are the people who are using their phone whilst driving when there is clear proof of how dangerous that is. If you’re doing the right thing, you’ll never have to worry about them. Who cares if the government raises money, if it saves lives, and I pay less taxes, sounds like a good thing.

Simon Curran
Guest
Simon Curran

As a diving instructor, I think this is a brilliant idea. And the people worried about there being no signs, are the people who are using their phone whilst driving when there is clear proof of how dangerous that is. If you’re doing the right thing, you’ll never have to worry about them. Who cares if the government raises money, if it saves lives, and I pay less taxes, sounds like a good thing.

Barry Nobody
Guest
Barry Nobody

You can’t touch the phone at all, except if it is in a cradle.
https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/mobilephones/know-the-rules.html

Joshua Hill
Ausdroid Reader

Thanks for the info. Confusing table mind you. I don’t have a dock my phone sits in a cup holder. I use bluetooth navigation with the screen off although I’ve had it on in the past. Supposedly having the screen on is illegal while not properly docked even if I don’t interact with it. Using the Bluetooth audio for navigation is a grey area. Potentially illegal too. Is it considered just audio in which case ok or is it using audio for navigation in which case it’s probably illegal.

Joshua Hill
Ausdroid Reader

My understanding of the law could be wrong but it’s only interactions with a devices screen that are illegal while it’s not docked. I hope this technology can differentiate when I pick my phone up to increase the volume without interacting with the screen.

Daniel Narbett
Guest
Daniel Narbett

In Victoria even touching the phone is illegal, not sure about NSW

Joshua Hill
Ausdroid Reader

Thanks for the heads up, I better check. Don’t want to get fined for something innocuous and safe because the laws poorly written.

EndlessTrail
Ausdroid Reader

Likewise, I do hope the software running the detection algorithm has been properly setup to detect if the phone is being held in the hand or if it’s in a phone holder. If not, there’ll be lots of innocent drivers getting busted even though they are trying to do the right thing and have their phone in a proper mount.

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