Commencing 1 December 2019, Transport NSW has introduced mobile phone detection cameras across the State. Unlike the pre-existing speed cameras, drivers will not be warned of their presence on the roads and most of their locations are unknown to the public.
How do they work?
The new technology utilises an overhead camera to take a photo of the driver seat, after which an artificial intelligence program automatically analyses the image to check if a driver is using their phone. It is then checked by an authorised adjudicator and penalty notice is issued to drivers caught using their mobile phones. The system supposedly works at night, in all weather conditions, and even in the driver is at speeds of 300km/h.
What constitutes as legal mobile phone use?
- Drivers are ONLY permitted to do use the following functions if the mobile phone is secured to the vehicle through a cradle, or can be operated without touching the phone:
- Make or receive audio call;
- Use music or audio functions;
- Use a driver’s aid such as GPS.
These functions are not available for drivers who hold a Learner of Provisional License.
- Accessing a Digital Driver’s License is permitted only after a police officer has asked you to do so.
- Using a Wallet Function such as making a transaction is stationary or off the road in areas like a car park, driveway or drive thru.
- If you want to access any other function the car must be parked.
What constitutes as illegal mobile phone use?
Use of the following functions are prohibited, unless the car is parked.
- Video calls;
- Text messaging;
- Using social media;
- Web browsing;
- Photography functions
Restricted licences holders including learner, P1 and P2 drivers and riders are not permitted to use their phone at all while driving or riding. This includes use of hands-free and Bluetooth functions.
What penalties could be incurred as a result of illegal mobile phone use?
Warning letters relating to camera-detected offences will be issued for the first three months. Following this period, the penalty for offending drivers is five demerit points and a $344 fine ($457 in a school zone). The penalty increases to 10 demerit points during double demerit periods.
A recipient of the penalty can request a review of on the Revenue NSW website.
With the holiday period approaching, NSW Police are warning drivers not to use their mobile phones whilst driving. To avoid temptation, keep your phone in your bag or glove box.
If you would like to seek further information in relation to the above, or need help with lodging a request for review of your penalty notice, please do not hesitate to contact our helpful team at Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors on 02 8917 8700, and we will be happy to assist you.