Cameras designed to catch out drivers who operate their mobile phones while driving have caught out over 3300 motorists in their first week.
In total, 773,532 vehicle checks were completed since the cameras were sent live in a number of locations across New South Wales from December 1.
Those nabbed can count themselves lucky though, as a three-month grace period is still in place. Instead of incurring a $344 fine and losing five demerit points (10 when combined with double-demerit periods), the law-breaking motorists will receive a warning letter... at least until the end of February, when the grace period expires.
A combination of mobile trailer cameras and fixed units were deployed in a number of locations across the state, but data shows that the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Lucas Heights and Nowra locations were the most problematic.
Minister for Roads Andrew Constance said the behaviour was “stupid” and pointed out that NSW was the first region in the world to introduce such cameras – with other countries watching the trial with close interest.
“At 60km/h if you look at your phone while driving for just two seconds, you travel 33 metres blind - it’s dangerous,” said Mr. Constance.
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“Around 500 drivers a day are getting pinged by these cameras doing the wrong thing. With double demerits starting Friday we need drivers to get the message and get off the phone, otherwise they risk killing themselves or someone innocent on our roads.
“I’d like to thank drivers doing the right thing, we have seen a reduction in the noncompliance rate by two thirds since we first trialled the technology earlier this year.”
The mobile phone detection program will progressively expand in NSW, but other states like Queensland are also set to adopt the technology in 2020.