Mobile phone enforcement technology could soon become a reality on our roads, with NSW becoming the first Australian state to clear the way through legislation.
As part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, the NSW Government has outlined its plans to implement law changes that would allow camera technology to enforce illegal mobile phone use.
The Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Bill 2018 was introduced into the NSW Legislative Assembly on 6 March 2018.
At the same time, the NSW Government also called for potential providers of mobile phone enforcement technology to present solutions to address the problem.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey emphasised the need for the technology, given the huge risk that mobile phones pose to other road users.
“It’s worth remembering that at 60 kilometres per hour, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds. Take your eyes off the road to look at your phone for a few seconds and you continue to travel, virtually blind,” Ms Pavy said.
Recent research has confirmed that using a phone while driving quadruples your risk of a crash.
Another report last year from the NRMA found that one in five motorists have been involved in near-misses where the other driver was using a mobile phone at the same time.
According to Transport for NSW, from 2012 to 2017, there were 184 crashes that involved illegal use of a mobile phone. These crashes resulted in 7 deaths and 105 injuries.
In 2016/17 financial year, more than 40,000 people fined were fined by NSW Police for illegal mobile phone use.
People who ride bikes will be glad to know that stronger enforcement through technology is just one of the approaches the NSW Government is using to tackling the concerning problem of illegal mobile phone use.
Other approaches also include greater education and a total mobile phone ban for all novice drivers (learner, P1 and P2 drivers) under the Graduated Licensing Scheme and police enforcement.