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New technology will see speed camera style technology used to detect illegal mobile phone use, as part of a huge crackdown on NSW roads from July 1, 2018.

The Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Act 2018 No 15 will provide the power for offences to be remotely monitored, alongside existing NSW Police infringements.

Drivers who are caught using a mobile phone while driving will receive a fine of $330 and will lose 4 demerit points. If drivers are caught using a mobile phone when driving in a school zone, the fine increases to $439. All mobile phone offences are also subject to double demerits penalties.

Once the camera detects that a person has been found to be using a phone whilst driving, the footage will be reviewed manually prior to an infringement notice being issued.

The revenue raised from the camera detection technology will be paid into the Community RoadSafety Fund, which allows community organisations to develop road safety projects in their local areas. Such projects include:

  • Driver mentoring assistance for disadvantaged youth;
  • Awareness campaign targeting driveway safety;
  • Road safety workshops targeting culturally and linguistically diverse communities; and
  • Road safety seminar series and newly arrived migrants.

It has been reported that during an initial test on Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, the new system detected 750 drivers in six hours. This is contrasted with NSW Police having issued less than 100 infringements per week using the current methods.

In justifying the new technology NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, reported that from 2012 to 2017 there were 184 crashes involving illegal mobile phone use and those crashes resulted in seven deaths and 105 injuries.

The new mobile phone laws will come into place on NSW roads from July 1, 2018.