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SA trials mobile phone cameras as road toll surges

Mobile phone detection cameras are being trialled in South Australia as the state continues to grapple with a soaring road toll.

The state government has approved a month-long trial on the busy South Road from Monday with the technology able to detect when drivers are using their mobile devices.

Similar technology is already used in NSW and Queensland and is being tested in Victoria and the ACT.

Police Minister Joe Szakacs said using a mobile phone while driving was a dangerous distraction.

"Distracted driving kills and causes trauma," the minister said.

"Mobile phone detection camera technology will be used in South Australia to save lives and prevent carnage on our roads."

South Australian police data shows over the past four years, 30,354 expiation notices or fines were issued for mobile phone offences, or about 7600 each year.

But drivers detected during the camera trial will not be fined or lose demerit points.

A review of the trial will begin in May 2023, with the cameras scheduled to come into general use in early 2024.

Police Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott said all drivers needed to break the habit of reaching for their phone "every time it rings, beeps or pings".

"Taking your eyes off the road, even for a split second, to read or respond to a message, slows down your reaction time and increases the chances of having a crash," he said.

The SA trial also comes amid a big jump in road deaths in 2023 with the state's toll about double that at the same time last year.

So far 35 people have lost their lives with the latest a 40-year-old woman involved in a two-car crash at suburban Windsor Gardens on Sunday.

She was driving a Holden station wagon which collided with a Ford Mustang.

The driver of the Mustang, a 22-year-old man, was unhurt and was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving.