People who use mobile phones while driving in Victoria will be targeted in a trial of overhead cameras and could face hefty penalties.
Following in the footsteps of NSW who recently became the first state in the world to roll out road cameras to detect illegal mobile phone use, Roads Minister Jaala Pulford announced that the government was investigating similar cameras for Victoria.
“We need people to be generally afraid of getting caught,” Minister Pulford told The Age.
“These cameras, we hope, will put that fear into people that they will get caught and that, coupled with probably a harsher penalty, will be a very potent combination.”
“The government has made no secret about our desire to have tougher penalties and a more effective enforcement regime for people caught on their phones.”
When combined with harsher penalties, the Roads Minister believes that the new cameras will drive behavioural change around illegal mobile phone usage by motorists.
The current penalty for using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria is $496 and four demerit points. Queensland recently announced that they’ll be increasing the fine for illegal mobile phone use while driving to $1000.
It’s clear that governments are beginning to recognise that more needs to be done to address the alarming risk that distracted driver pose on our roads.
Since 2004, Bicycle Network has been campaigning to stamp out distracted driving caused by mobile phone use.
We believe that if we're going to successfully change behaviour we need an approach that involves increased penalties, education and new technologies.
Following the sentencing of Billie Rodda for charge of dangerous driving causing the death of professional cyclist Jason Lowndes, Bicycle Network also called for culpable driving causing death to be the charge for anyone who kills a person while using a mobile phone and driving.
Bicycle Network looks forward to working with the Victorian Government to stamp out distracted driving on our roads.