'World first' cell phone detection cameras rolled out in Australia

Joanna Estrada
December 3, 2019

The government of New South Wales is implementing a new AI-based camera system specifically created to spot mobile phones in cars.

The cameras will operate day and night, as well as in any weather conditions, using artificial intelligence to monitor for drivers handling mobile phones.

A trial of the tool in the first half of 2019 successfully detected 100,000 drivers using a mobile illegally.

Over the next three years, 45 portable cameras will be set up across the state, in unknown locations, and without warning signs, CNN affiliate Sky News Australia reported. When the camera detects a driver is using the phone, it will snap a picture which will then be verified by authorized personnel. For the first three months, drivers caught using their phones will only receive a warning, but after that period, they will be hit with a $344 AUD ($233 US) fine and five penalty points, or $457 AUD ($309 US) if in a school zone and 10 penalty points during double penalty periods.

"Some people have not got the message about using their phones legally and safely", said Andrew Constance, minister for roads. In a release last month, Bernard Carlon, executive director of transport for NSW's Center for Road Safety said that the cameras could prevent 100 fatal or serious injury crashes over five years.

Some 329 people have died this year on New South Wales' roads, Reuters news agency reported, compared with 354 people for all of 2018, according to official statistics. NSW officials hope to cut the number of road fatalities by 30% by 2021, the report said. Using your phone for any other reason such as texting, social media, or anything that requires your hands on the phone is illegal.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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