Victoria and Queensland are the two latest states to begin using mobile phone detection cameras in an attempt to cut down on distracted drivers.
Trials of the mobile phone detection cameras will begin this week and will run for three months in the case of Victoria, while the Queensland trial will run until the end of the year.
In the trials, motorists who are caught will be let off with a warning and will not receive a photograph of them committing the illegal behaviour.
It is expected that, once completed, both of these trial periods will result in a wider network of mobile phone detection cameras, with fines and demerit points handed out to infringing motorists.
That will mean a whopping $1000 fine and four demerit points for Queenslanders (the largest mobile phone fine in Australia) and $496 and four demerit points for Victorians.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads minister Mark Bailey makes no apology for cracking down hard on distracted drivers who flout the law in this manner.
“The message is direct and very simple: just put your phone away," Bailey said. “Using your mobile phone when you’re behind the wheel is as dangerous as drunk and drug driving.
“Thirty-three Queensland lives were confirmed to have been lost in 2018 alone due to driver distraction, while another 1,359 people were hospitalised.”
Similar sentiments are reiterated by Victoria’s minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Caroll.
“We know how dangerous it is to use your phone while driving – that’s why we’re trialling this new technology to help stamp out this irresponsible behaviour,” he said.
Mobile phone detection cameras have worked very well for the NSW government, netting in more than $7 million in just the first two months, which represents a 1500 percent increase in fines compared to a similar period before the cameras were introduced.
The high-tech detection cameras can be attached to underpasses, to the back of road signs or simply operate from roadside trailers.
They can also detect vehicle occupants who are not wearing a seatbelt, though whether that will become an infringeable offence from the cameras remains to be seen.