By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Friday, March 20, 2020
Last year, more than 7500 South Australians were fined for using their mobile phones while driving. Could the introduction of mobile phone detection cameras reduce that figure?
During a 3-month trial of mobile phone detection cameras in December 2019, more than 30,000 motorists were caught on their phones while driving in NSW.
One motorist travelling at 80km/h was snapped using their phone while a passenger held the steering wheel.
With so many motorists caught using their phones behind the wheel, the question has been asked: should South Australia introduce mobile detection cameras?
RAA’s Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said RAA was keeping an eye on trials in New South Wales.
“It’s new technology, so it’ll be interesting to see how accurate it is, and the impact it has on driver behaviour,” Mr Mountain said.
“We’ll find out the results from cameras in New South Wales, but at the moment it’s too early to tell whether they’d be effective in South Australia.”
So far, despite snapping more than 30,000 offending motorists, the interstate cameras seem to have had little impact on driver behaviour.
“Motorists aren’t getting the message,” Mr Mountain said.
It was well-publicised that these cameras were being installed yet people are still getting snapped using their phones while at the wheel.”
The cameras operate 24 hours per day, in all weather conditions, and capture images of vehicles’ front cabin space. Their aim is to detect illegal mobile phone use.
Artificial intelligence automatically reviews the images, detecting drivers who are using their phones and excluding motorists who are obeying the law.
Images likely to depict a driver illegally using a mobile phone are then assessed by a human reviewer, before a fine is sent out.
Mr Mountain said he hoped the cameras would help deter people from using their phones while driving.
Mobile phone consequences
The fine you’ll pay if you use your mobile phone while driving.
“Talking or texting on your phone while driving can be dangerous for both you and other road users, because it distracts you from driving,” Mr Mountain said.
“Put it out of sight to reduce the temptation of using it while driving or when you’re stopped at traffic lights.”
Motorists caught using a hand-held mobile phone in South Australia risk receiving a $534 fine, a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 3 demerit points.