Victoria and Queensland on the cusp of activating cameras to hand out fines and points for using a mobile phone while driving.
Victoria will begin trailing special new cameras this week to detect mobile phone use behind the wheel and “and potentially other illegal driving activities.”
The announcements come as Queensland also announced that it will trial the same system until the end of the year.
In Victoria, the cameras will turn on Wednesday 29 July and capture mobile phone use, but also other infringements such as not wearing a seatbelt. During the period of the trial, number plate recognition which is used to identify and issue fines and demerit points, will not be used. However, some photographs will not be deleted and de-intendified – it’s not clear what the images will be used for.
If the results are deemed successful, it will be rolled out to go ‘live’.
What’s more, the cameras in Victoria can be made mobile, so they can be used at any location and at any time of the day – including at night. “[The cameras are] able to operate from any location, 24 hours a day, in all conditions”.
If approved, it will result in fines of $496 and four demerit points being given to motorists. The media statement says 30,000 motorists were fined by police in Victoria for using their phone while driving during the 2017-18 period. That’s almost $15 million in fines, a figure which would likely blow out if unmanned cameras were able to do the job.
The announcement published yesterday states that the “technology is designed to detect mobile phone use behind the wheel and potentially other illegal driving activities, making our roads safer for the majority of road users who do the right thing”.
The media statement says that the technology could help prevent 95 casualty crashes per year, and research shows drivers who use a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to cause a fatal road accident. Texting, browsing and emailing increase the crash risk even further – up to ten times.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Lisa Neville says: “We know distracted drivers can have devastating outcomes on our roads – this technology is another step towards targeting this kind of unacceptable behaviour and keeping all road users safe.”
“We all have a role to play in reducing our road toll – every time someone picks up their phone behind the wheel they are putting lives in danger. This technology will detect those who choose to put lives at risk on our roads.”
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