New cameras capable of detecting drivers using their mobile phones have received significant news coverage lately. Photos posted to social media claiming to identify the location of these new cameras have received a huge following as well. Unfortunately, most of these social media posts are incorrect and show a photo of a camera used by the RMS to monitor traffic flow. It may surprise you to know that there are already hundreds of cameras across NSW that can now enforce mobile phone use. Their location is no secret as the cameras that will initially detect and enforce mobile phone use by drivers have been on our roads for years.
The Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Bill 2018 commenced on 1 July 2018. This Bill made amendments to the law so that any camera that is an“approved traffic enforcement device” can now also be used to detect mobile phone offences. That means you can be detected using your phone by speed cameras, red light cameras, T-Way cameras, bus lane cameras, and even motorway toll cameras. The RMS cameras featured in many social media posts aren’t used for enforcement and therefore cannot be used to issue fines to drivers using their phones.
The law has also been changed so that any mobile phone offence detected this way is classed as a “camera detected offence” which means the fine is issued directly to the registered owner of the vehicle involved. Dedicated mobile phone detection cameras are being trialed but until they are rolled out the government has just authorised every enforcement camera in NSW to be used to detect and enforce mobile phone usage.
If you’re caught using a mobile phone while driving fines and demerit points apply. Depending on your circumstances this may result in your licence being suspended. At Marsh Blom Lawyers we regularly defend all types of traffic matters, camera detected offences and licence suspension appeals and we help people keep their licenses.