Centre for Road Safety

Pilot of mobile phone detection cameras

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

From July 2018, legislation has been in place to enable the use of evidence from camera-based technology to enforce mobile phone offences. This has placed NSW in a position to test and be an early adopter of emerging road safety technology.

Transport for NSW and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has worked with potential technology providers to test camera technology on the Sydney road network.

Australian company, Acusensus, was engaged to pilot its high-tech cameras in two fixed locations on the M4 and Anzac Parade after a successful testing phase and competitive tender process involving 23 potential providers.

The pilot at the two fixed locations ran from January to early April 2019. A final, shorter phase of the pilot involving a transportable version of the same camera technology occurred at a number of locations across Greater Sydney from April to June 2019.

The new system, which can operate 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, including the driver seat and passenger seat.

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.

Controls are in place to ensure images captured by the system are securely stored and managed by authorised personnel only, in a similar way to other camera programs.

No fines will be issued during the pilot. This is an opportunity for drivers to re-think and to change their behaviour by putting their phone out of reach every time they drive.

A decision about the long-term deployment of the cameras will be made after the outcomes of the pilot are reviewed.