Authorities in Victoria will soon start issuing fines of up to $496 and four demerit points from mobile phone detection cameras – joining NSW which was the first jurisdiction in the world to adopt the technology.
Following the successful rollout in NSW, the state of Victoria had been trialling mobile phone detection cameras since July 2020.
The technology is an Australian invention by a University of Melbourne engineering graduate after a cyclist friend was killed in late 2013 by a driver suspected of being on a mobile phone.
Queensland is expected to be the next state to start issuing fines using the technology, having started its trial of the system at the same time as Victoria.
NSW began testing mobile phone detection cameras in December 2019 before it started issuing fines from March 2020.
The cameras – which can be mounted on an overhead gantry or on a pole fixed to a trailer – use sophisticated software to automatically detect if a driver is handling a phone.
The cameras photograph every car across multiple lanes – at suburban and freeway speeds – and filtered images are then checked by a human eye by authorities before a fine is issued. Discarded images are deleted from digital files within an hour, says the technology supplier.
Authorities in Victoria – where an undisclosed number of cameras will be rolled out across the state over the next two years – say research shows drivers who use a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to cause a fatal road accident.
Victoria’s three-month trial – which processed more than 600,000 vehicles passing by the cameras – showed one in 42 drivers were detected handling a mobile phone while behind the wheel.
The fines for using a handheld mobile phone while driving – which includes checking social media, email and browsing the web – are the highest in Queensland and West Australia, where the ticket is $1000 and four demerit points.
The fine for using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria is $496 and four demerit points.
Here is a recap of the mobile phone driving penalties in each state and territory in Australia (subject to change each year):
New South Wales: $349 and five demerit points, with penalties rising to $464 in school zones.
Queensland: $1000 and four demerit points. Repeat offenders will receive a $2000 fine and double demerit points if caught again within 12 months from the previous offence.
Victoria: $496 and four demerit points.
ACT: $480 and three demerit points for handheld phone use and a $589 fine and four demerit points for driver using mobile device for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing internet.
South Australia: $534 and three demerit points.
Western Australia: $1000 and four demerit points.
Northern Territory: $500 and three demerit points.
Tasmania: $336 and three demerit points.