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Cameras That Catch You Using Your Phone While Driving Are Coming to NSW Roads

In a world-first move, NSW is introducing cameras to catch illegal phone use while driving.
By Libby Curran and Sarah Ward
December 16, 2018
By Libby Curran and Sarah Ward
December 16, 2018

It's about to get a whole lot harder for any New South Wales driver to get away with using their mobile phone while driving — and it's thanks to a world-first move by the NSW Government, which is adopting speed camera-style technology to detect the illegal behaviour.

After trialling the high-definition cameras during October — and spying more than 11,000 drivers using their phones, according to the ABC — the government has announced that a further test will take place from January. If proven foolproof, the technology will be implemented on a permanent basis.

As first reported earlier this year, the legislation giving the tech the go-ahead was passed in NSW parliament back in May. And while the technology didn't actually exist at the time, the government put the call-out to companies who were interested in providing the technology. Three outfits took part in the first trial, with Australian company Acusensus selected for the January test run.

Acusensus' cameras, which use artificial intelligence, will be placed on the M4 and Anzac Parade. They can operate in all conditions — day and night, and regardless of the weather — to detect folks using their phones while they're behind the wheel.

It's hoped that using the cameras will have a huge positive impact on the number of road fatalities, much like when breath testing was introduced back in 1982 and slashed fatal accidents by almost 50 percent.

While most drivers will probably see this as a cash grab, fines won't be issued during the January trial. If the cameras come into effect permanently afterwards, fully licensed drivers will be looking at a $330 fine and four demerit points if caught; however NSW Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey told The Sydney Morning Herald that money raised from the camera fines will go back into a Community Road Safety Fund.

Via the ABC.

Published on December 16, 2018 by Libby Curran
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