Thousands of drivers caught using their phone behind the wheel by new hidden phone detection cameras have been slugged more than $7 million in just one month.
A total of 11,790 Sydney drivers were slapped with camera-detected fines in March, after a three month grace period where drivers were issued warnings ahead of cash penalties being introduced.
The huge number of people fined caused a massive 1,500 per cent jump in mobile phone offences in NSW, Nine News reported.
Illegal mobile phone use caught on the new cameras warrant a $344 fine and five demerit points, which increases to 10 demerit points during a double-demerits period.
In the first week of December during its trial phase, 3,303 people were busted using their phones by the cameras.
About 45 cameras across the state checked more than 770,500 vehicles in the first week.
A $1 million contract has been allocated to promote the mobile detection cameras, with NSW Shadow Transport Minister John Graham calling on signs to be installed to warn drivers as they approach one.
“We know that this is dangerous behaviour. We’ve called for there to be signs to let drivers know to put the phone away,” he told Nine News.
Bernard Carlton from the Centre for Road Safety said awareness of cameras being anywhere, should be enough to stop drivers touching their phones.
“We know that the deterrent effect of people thinking they’re going to get caught anywhere, anytime is actually working,” he said.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said signs would not be installed at cameras on Anzac Parade in Moore Park and the M4 in Prospect.
A total of 12,991 fines were handed out for mobile offences in March, totalling $7,429,451, including camera-detected fines and those issued by police.
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