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Even travel restrictions can't beat mobile phone detection cameras

By Tom Fraser, 12 May 2020 Car News

mobile phone use camera

Mobile phone use fines skyrocket 1500 per cent even with reduced traffic thanks to new cameras

Sydney motorists have already given up $7 million in fines issued in the first two months of operation of the mobile phone detection cameras - and that's during COVID-19 imposed travel restrictions.

According to reports, there was a 1500 per cent increase in fines between February and March this year for drivers who were caught their mobile phones while driving, thanks to 11,790 camera-detected fines.

Read next: Mobile phone detection cameras go live in NSW

In April, a further 9000 drivers were caught, bringing the two month total to just under 21,000 drivers fined from just two mobile phone camera locations in NSW, and a smaller number of undisclosed NSW mobile phone camera locations.

Using phone while driving

Keep in mind, the first month of operation for the detection cameras was during the coronavirus lockdowns that saw Sydney traffic reduced by 40 per cent.

With restrictions now cautiously being lifted in a number of states, we can expect this income to skyrocket. 

Read next: Thousands of drivers nabbed by mobile phone cameras in first week

Each fine from cameras that detect mobile phone use nets the NSW government $344 (or $457 if caught in a school zone) and drivers accrue five demerit points out of 12 for using a mobile phone while driving.

As a quick refresher, the law states that you can’t use a phone to browse social media or respond to text messages while driving, even if you’ve got the phone in a cradle.

The only circumstance in which you’re allowed to use a mobile phone while driving is to answer a call or make one, as long as you’re using the car’s controls to initiate it.

Read next: Hands off! Mobile phone detection camera trial begins in Sydney

Some have called for warning signs to be placed ahead of the camera locations to deter drivers from using their phones, much like how mobile speed camera locations are forewarned.

But NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has flatly rejected the idea.

NOW READ Is it too late to stop mobile phone use in cars?