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WOOR:VIC & QLD Join NSW With Mobile Detection Cams

Jul 27, 2020

Victoria & Queensland Join NSW With Mobile Phone Detection Cameras

Queensland and Victoria will roll out mobile phone detection cameras this week – five months after NSW began using the technology to issue fines.

It means the three Australian states with the biggest populations – and the most drivers – will have cameras to catch people using a mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Authorities in other states are also expected to eventually roll out the technology, but are yet to announce their trials.

Drivers in Queensland and Victoria caught on camera using a mobile phone will initially receive warning letters rather than a fine.

Victoria is trialling the technology for three months, while Queensland says it will test the equipment until the end of the year.

Both jurisdictions say they will also use the cameras to detect occupants not wearing a seatbelt.

While NSW now has about a dozen mobile phone detection cameras across the state – and the number is growing – Victoria and Queensland will initially have just two cameras each, tested in a number of locations.

The cameras are mounted on overhead signs, bridges, or mobile towers, and can detect vehicles across multiple lanes of traffic.

The Australian-developed camera technology automatically sorts images which do and don't depict drivers holding a phone.

The image then undergoes a human check – at a department based in Australia – before a fine or warning letter is issued.

A statement from VicRoads said: “The trial – which begins this Wednesday, 29 July – will ensure the technology operates accurately and is appropriate for use on Victorian roads before a potential roll-out.”

VicRoads said research showed drivers who use a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to cause a fatal road accident.

“Texting, browsing and emailing increase the crash risk even further – up to 10 times,” a statement from VicRoads said.

In the 2017-18 financial year, more than 30,000 motorists were issued with fines for using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria.

By comparison, cameras in NSW detected approximately 21,000 mobile phone offences within the first two months after authorities began issuing tickets instead of warnings.

VicRoads said the mobile phone camera detection trial will help authorities “understand how the technology can be integrated with the existing road safety camera systems, and ensure the cameras operate effectively and accurately, so fines issued under a full rollout are appropriate”.

Despite the warnings, many drivers are unaware mobile phone penalties are the same whether a vehicle is stopped in traffic or travelling at speed.

Contrary to widespread belief, drivers cannot browse social media, email or text messages even if the phone is in a mounting bracket.

The devices can only be used to take or make a call and cannot be rested on the driver’s lap or shoulder – or held away from their body.

Queensland has the equal highest penalty nationally for using a phone while driving – $1000 and four demerit points, the same as Western Australia. The fine for using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria is $496 and four demerit points.

Here is a recap of the mobile phone driving penalties in each state and territory in Australia (subject to change):

New South Wales: $349 and five demerit points, with penalties rising to $464 in school zones.

Queensland: $1000 and four demerit points. Repeat offenders will receive a $2000 fine and double demerit points if caught again within 12 months from the previous offence.

Victoria: $496 and four demerit points.

ACT: $480 and three demerit points for handheld phone use and a $589 fine and four demerit points for driver using mobile device for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing internet.

South Australia: $534 and three demerit points.

Western Australia: $1000 and four demerit points.

Northern Territory: $500 and three demerit points.

Tasmania: $336 and three demerit points.

Source: https://www.caradvice.com.au/868783/victoria-and-queensland-join-nsw-with-mobile-phone-detection-cameras/

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