NSW drivers could lose nearly half their licence if caught using a phone

Demerit points and fines now apply for those caught using their mobile phones while driving through the dedicated phone-detection cameras.

The New South Wales government has begun issuing fines and demerit points to those caught using their mobile phones while driving by dedicated phone-detection cameras.

The mobile phone detection cameras have been operating in warning mode since December 2019, after a trial kicked off a year earlier.

See also: NSW government looks 'beyond digital' as part of its customer and digital strategy

They were originally fixed, with the tech initially on Western Sydney's M4 motorway and Anzac Parade in Southeast Sydney.

The cameras are now both fixed and transportable, with the trailer-mounted cameras to be frequently moved around the state.

Drivers caught using their phone will now cop a AU$344 fine and lose five demerit points.

According to the state government, 9 million vehicles had been checked by the cameras during the three-month warning period, with more than 30,000 warning letters being issued to drivers caught using their phones.

Minister for Roads Andrew Constance expects the number of drivers pinged by the cameras to reduce, thanks to the introduction of such high penalties.

In NSW, unrestricted licence-holders have 13 points at their disposal; professional drivers are given 14 points.

Provisional P2 -- "green Ps" -- licence-holders have seven points; while P1 -- "red Ps" -- and learners have only four points.

The camera pilot was delivered by Australian firm Acusensus, which was one of the three companies that took part in a prior testing operation.

The system uses high-definition cameras and artificial intelligence to detect drivers using their phone behind the wheel.

NSW Police continue to enforce illegal mobile phone use and issue infringements as part of regular operations, the state government added.

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