New cameras designed specifically to catch drivers using hand-held mobile phones will be permanently installed for the first time. The announcement follows a successful six-month trial.
The two fixed cameras caught more than 100,000 drivers using phones during the test period.
UK drivers won’t be seeing them yet, unless they take a driving holiday to Australia. That’s because New South Wales (NSW) is the first state in the world to install the technology.
“Unfortunately some people haven’t received the message and think they can continue to put the safety of themselves, their passengers and the community at risk without consequence,” said NSW roads minister Andrew Constance.
“We have to, unfortunately, use the element of surprise to get people to think ‘well, I could get caught at any time’.
“There is strong community support for more enforcement to stop illegal mobile phone use with 80 per cent of people we surveyed supporting use of the mobile phone detection cameras.”
The cameras will be installed from December, with both fixed and mobile (van-mounted) systems being used. A total of 45 locations across NSW have been proposed initially.
The Australian government will invest £47.7million ($88 million AUD) in the project – but judging by the number caught by the trial, it won’t take long to make its money back.
There’s no word yet on whether this type of enforcement will be used elsewhere. You can bet the UK Department for Transport will be watching closely.