Australia Introduces Phone Detection Cameras for Roads

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
australia introduces phone detection cameras for roads

Australia put up the first phone-detecting cameras in New South Wales over the weekend. The move is part of a broader plan to reduce roadway fatalities by 30 percent by 2021 — especially as new technologies continue to exacerbate the issue of distracted driving. “It’s a system to change the culture,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy told Australian media las week.

There’s nothing incredibly new about the cameras themselves. But they’re networked to an artificial intelligence that determines whether or not someone behind the wheel is using their phone. Suspect images are then forwarded to authorized personnel to be verified as truly criminal.

New South Wales wants to put up 45 portable cameras over the next three years, moving them occasionally to keep people on their toes. For the first three months, starting now, offending drivers will only receive warning letters in the mail. The penalty then becomes a $344 AUD ($233 USD), which gets a bit higher in school zones, and some points on their license (again, more in a school zone). Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole said the program will progressively expand to perform an estimated 135 million vehicle checks on NSW roads each year by 2023.

Critics of the plan are worried that the cameras sacrifice privacy for negligible safety gains. There have also been fears that the courts could become overwhelmed by drivers disputing bogus claims if the system isn’t spot on with its detection.

While numerous outlets are calling this a world’s first, the Netherlands recently put a similar system in place to catch distracted drivers. China also has a system like this (a rather expansive one) and intends on connecting it to its social credit score program early next year.

“The NSW Government is serious about reducing our state’s road toll and rolling out mobile phone detection cameras is another way we will do this,” explained Minister for Roads Andrew Constance. “As we enter a notoriously dangerous time of the year on our roads I want all drivers to know that if you use your mobile phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle in NSW you will have a greater chance of being caught, anywhere at anytime … Some people have not got the message about using their phones legally and safely. If they think they can continue to put the safety of themselves, their passengers and the community at risk without consequence they are in for a rude shock.”

[Image: pathdoc/Shutterstock]

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  • Ajla Ajla on Dec 02, 2019

    Reading some of these comments makes me happy to live in a place sparsely populated enough to not have need deal with so much danger on the local roads or when walking around. Even if the idea of "fine dining" is Red Lobster.

    • -Nate -Nate on Dec 04, 2019

      ! _I_ like The Red Lobster..... Once a year they have an all you can eat shrimp fest, right before my son's birthday, I always take him Yes, my old & wrinkly (I assume) neck is red, so what ? . -Nate

  • -Nate -Nate on Dec 03, 2019

    "funny how conservatives are just as eager to invent “rights” which benefit them as the people they complain about." No, only the whacko alt righties do this and then try to hid behind "Conservative" labels . Actual Conservatives understand honesty and following the law . "The red light runners are not incapacitated or driving overloaded trucks. They are, overwhelmingly, just a$sholes who don’t want to wait." Fact . If you don't agree, look in the mirror, the problem is _YOU_ . "Here’s where I remind you that driving a motor vehicle is a privilege and not a right. If you want to keep privileges, use them responsibly." Thank you Cory ; The sad fact is : too many don't give a rat's patoot about anyone but them selves yet they're the very first who scream if the cops & first responders aren't there in a hurry when their wife, kids etc. cause a collision.... Time to GROW UP and act like an adult . -Nate

  • FreedMike Ford "Powershudder" DCT? Hard pass...with extreme prejudice. The only people who liked these were the class-action lawyers. With a manual, it'd be a different story.
  • Cprescott I blow on a pinwheel....
  • Jkross22 Looks good in and out, but pricing is nonsensical. Anyone spending in the low to upper 40s and wanting something like this would be better off in a Stelvio and anyone wanting a small, fun SUV would be better off in a Q3, X1 or even X3. All hover around that price.Dodge is getting high off its own supply.
  • Parkave231 If I were employed at Grand River, I'd be very worried right now...
  • ScarecrowRepair I can grok everything but 20 TV monitors. What earthly purpose do they serve? If the entire skin were screens, it could change like a chameleon. But they are just square blobs scattered all over. The rear ones can send messages to tailgators. The others?At least the two fake NOS bottles are car related. If it had cattle horns up front, at least that would relate to historical car bling.Makes me wonder how many other mods are just as useless, and how well any of them are done.