You’re driving along the road and something catches your attention. Perhaps it’s the sound of your phone buzzing after you receive a text. Or, perhaps there’s something happening on the road that’s Snapchat-worthy.
You look at your surroundings – there are no police in sight. Surely a quick look at your phone, or keeping one hand on the wheel and the other pressing the record button won’t hurt, right?
On 1 July 2018 the NSW Government introduced a new camera detection technology that allows cameras to target drivers who use their mobile phones illegally.
The new camera detectors were introduced as a mechanism to decrease the amount of mobile phone-related accidents and deaths on the road.
In the modern world where society is becoming increasingly dependent on mobile phones, there has unfortunately been an increase in crashes and deaths on the road as a result of illegal mobile phone usage.
In fact, between 2012 and 2017 there were 184 crashes as a result of illegal mobile phone usage. Of those 184 crashes, 7 resulted in death, and 105 resulted in significant injuries.
What are the consequences?
Drivers who are caught illegally using their mobile phones will be issued a $330.00 fine and lose 4 demerit points.
In school zones, the fine increases to $439.00. The driver will still lose 4 demerit points.
Normal double demerit penalties will apply on public holidays, increasing the chances of you losing your licence.
How accurate are these cameras?
During its test run on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the cameras detected 750 drivers, in just six hours!
This is in contrast with the reported fines physically issued by NSW Police, who issued less than 100 infringements per week under the old methods of targeting illegal mobile phone usage.
Realistically, that one text, picture or video may seem worth it then and there. But a few hundred dollars and demerits points (potentially leading to loss of your licence) or worse, an accident or death later… was taking out your phone really worth the risk?