Keep your hands off your phones while driving, Queenslanders and Victorians.

    Cameras capable of detecting drivers touching their mobile phones on the move will roll out this week in Queensland and Victoria, following their successful introduction in New South Wales.

    Although they’re already fining motorists in New South Wales, the cameras will be operating on a three-month trial in Victoria. They’ll be trialled until the end of 2020 in Queensland.

    “We all have a role to play in reducing our road toll – every time someone picks up their phone behind the wheel they are putting lives in danger,” said Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Lisa Neville

    “This technology will detect those who choose to put lives at risk on our roads.”

    VicRoads hasn’t yet committed to using the cameras to fine people after the initial three-month experiment, however their success in New South Wales suggests it’s a formality after the trial.

    The trial will centre on movable cameras that can be used “from any location, 24 hours a day, in all conditions”.

    The fine in Victoria for mobile phone use while driving is $496 and four demerit points, while Queensland slugs drivers $1000 and four demerits for the same offence.

    The Australian-developed mobile phone cameras have proven lucrative in New South Wales, where they netted the government more than $7 million in fines during March and April alone.

    More than 20,000 drivers were snapped by the cameras in their first two months of operation – just 1200 were caught by police in the wild during the same period.

    The world-first phone-detection cameras have been online since December 2019, but drivers caught in the first three months of operation were sent warnings instead of fines.

    NSW Police started fining drivers on March 1. The penalty for mobile phone use is $344 and five demerit points, or $457 in a school zone.

    Both Queensland and Victoria will also use the cameras to detect drivers without a seatbelt.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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