The Territory Government is cracking down on dangerous driving, with mobile detecting cameras a step closer.
Legislation was introduced into the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, which is almost certain to pass, paving the way for their rollout in the Territory.
Under the laws, current penalties will apply for drivers caught using a hand-held device to make or receive a call face fines of $480 and 3 demerit points.
Those penalties increase for drives caught using their phone for messaging and social media, with fines of up to $589 and 4 demerit points.
Once the cameras are operational, the penalties will apply regardless of whether an offence is detected by a police officer or a camera.
The ACT Government first committed to their rollout back in February in a bid to improve safety on our roads.
Transport Minister, Chris Steel said risks of using a mobile device while driving are ‘significant and undeniable’.
“Research shows that drivers who text, browse or email on a mobile device while driving are 10 times more likely to crash.
“Driving while using your mobile device is as dangerous as drink driving, yet every day too many Canberrans put themselves and others at risk by doing it.”
Last year, police issued 1,008 infringement notices and 190 cautions for mobile device use while driving across the Territory but it’s believed the actual incidence of this behaviour far higher.
Mr Steel also moved to dispel any concerns about privacy as a result of the new cameras.
“Each photo taken by the cameras will be reviewed by artificial intelligence to identify whether a possible offence has been captured.”
“If the system does not identify any offence, the photo will be rapidly deleted – This means people will never view the majority of images captured.” He added.
It expected the new cameras could be operation as soon as the end of this year, with a 3-month grace period to apply.
“During this time drivers that are captured infringing by the new cameras will receive a letter advising they have been detected.”
“The letter will provide a stern warning and educate them of the risks of using a mobile device while driving.”