Centre for Road Safety

Mobile phone detection cameras targeting illegal phone use across NSW

In the Road Safety Plan 2021, the NSW Government outlined plans to investigate camera based technology to enforce mobile phone use offences.

Legislation came into effect in July 2018 that enabled NSW to pilot world-first mobile phone detection camera technology between January and June 2019.

Both fixed and transportable versions of the cameras were found to operate reliably in real world conditions. During the pilot, the cameras checked 8.5 million vehicles and detected more than 100,000 drivers using their phones illegally.

The mobile phone detection camera program will now be rolled out from late 2019 and will include fixed and relocatable trailer-mounted cameras. Together, these cameras will target illegal mobile phone use anywhere, anytime.

The detection system, which operates both day and night and in all weather conditions, uses high-definition cameras to capture images of the front-row cabin space of all vehicles to detect illegal mobile phone use.

The system uses artificial intelligence to automatically review images and detect offending drivers, and to exclude images of non-offending drivers from further action. Images that the automated system considers likely to contain a driver illegally using a mobile phone are verified by authorised personnel.

As with other road safety camera programs in NSW, strict controls are in place to ensure images captured by the system are securely stored and managed.

Warning letters will be issued for the first three months. Following this period, the penalty for offending drivers is five demerit points and a $344 fine ($457 in a school zone). The penalty increases to 10 demerit points during double demerit periods.

Find more information about mobile phone rules and FAQs on our Know the rules page.