South Australia is the next state to get cameras that can detect if you’re using your mobile phone behind the wheel.
Five new mobile phone detection cameras will be installed and operational by June 2024. Penalties include a $540 fine, a $99 “victims of crime levy” and three demerit points for those caught illegally using their mobile phones.
Drivers will have a three-month grace period between June and September 2024 where no fines or demerit points will be issued by South Australia Police.
The state government says the revenue raised from the fines will be returned to the Community Road Safety Fund which provides funding for “crucial road safety initiatives” including safety improvements, education programs and “hard-hitting public advertising”.
It says the locations have been carefully researched and curated by the Adelaide University’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research and took into account crash trends and busy road corridors across Adelaide.
These locations are:
- Southern Expressway, Darlington
- South Road, Torrensville
- North South Motorway, Regency Park
- Port Road, Hindmarsh
- Port Wakefield Road, Gepps Cross
The government had previously trialled mobile phone detection cameras early in 2023, though it didn’t issue fines for offences detected.
South Australia Police will monitor the photographs taken by the cameras from multiple angles of the driver’s windscreen. Using AI, the system will be able to identify drivers who are disobeying the law.
Once detected these images will be verified by police and fines will subsequently be issued.
“Unfortunately, mobile phone use is becoming increasingly common while driving, everyone would have seen someone using their mobile phone while driving,” said Ian Parrot, Assistant Commissioner for South Australia Police’s State Operations Service.
“Over the past five years, distraction has played a significant part in causing crashes that resulted in 1,285 serious injuries and 198 lives lost in South Australia.
“Between 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2022, 33,982 expiations were issued by SA Police members to drivers/riders for using a mobile phone whilst driving, but know this issue is more widespread.
“The introduction of Mobile Phone Detection Cameras will enhance South Australia Police’s enforcement capabilities to detect people 24/7 in more locations and we hope this will ultimately contribute to changing driver behaviour.”
Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales have already implemented mobile phone detection cameras.
Fines in Victoria for drivers caught using their mobile phones or not wearing a seat belt while driving are $577 and four demerit points and $370, respectively.
Currently there are six traffic safety cameras detecting mobile phone use and seat belt detection within Victoria.
In Queensland, drivers are fined $1161 and lose four demerit points for using their mobile phone illegally, while drivers in New South Wales face fines of $387 or $514 if caught in a school zone, with a further penalty of up to five demerit points.