What you need to know
- North South Wales Australia is the first to equip mobile phone-detecting cameras on the roads.
- The camera uses AI to detect if the driver is using a smartphone while driving and then will be verified by authorized personnel.
- During the first three months, drivers will receive a warning. Afterward, the system will begin issuing fines.
Texting or using your phone while driving is dangerous, causing accidents that claim a number of lives each year. Despite knowing this, many still choose to use their phones while behind the wheel. This year alone, 329 people have died on the road in North South Wales Australia compared to 354 in 2018.
To combat this, Transport for NSW is rolling out the world's first mobile phone detection cameras with the goal of cutting road fatalities by 30% by 2021. Currently, it is legal to make and receive calls while driving in NSW, but only when using the device hands-free. Using your phone for any other reason such as texting, social media, or anything that requires your hands on the phone is illegal.
The cameras will operate day and night, as well as in any weather conditions, using artificial intelligence to monitor for drivers handling mobile phones. When the camera detects a driver is using the phone, it will snap a picture which will then be verified by authorized personnel.
For the first three months, drivers will receive a warning letter, but afterward, the system will start issuing fines. The standard fine will be $344 AUD (approx $234 USD) and $457 AUD (approx $311 USD) in school zones.
While the system will involve an actual person to review the photos, there are still concerns that the courts will see a huge influx of drivers disputing the fines. Considering the government hopes to catch up to 135 million people within four to five years, that could add up to thousands of cases flooding the court system each year.