Motorists using their mobiles behind the wheel have been warned following the introduction of new hi-tech cameras to detect the offence.
NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey announced on Wednesday that two of Sydney’s busiest roads would now be home to the “world-first” technology.
The cameras will be an ever present fixture on Anzac Parade at Moore Park, in Sydney’s east, and on Culnies Ross Street overpass on the M4 Motorway at Prospect, in the city’s west.
The cameras will be switched on and operating from next week.
“On Monday we’re turning the cameras on,” Ms Pavey declared.
Despite saying there will be weeks of ensuring the new technology is working and predicting a “plethora of lawyers wanting to challenge this technology”, Ms Pavey said the government was confident the technology would prove successful.
“We are the first country in the world to be installing and trialling this technology,” she added.
Ms Pavey said there will be a teething period and motorists caught using their phones by the cameras would not be handed fines until April.
She also insisted the cameras’ introduction was “not revenue raising” but was to make sure risks on Sydney’s roads were minimised.
“This is about sending a very strong message to get off your phone when you’re behind the wheel of a car,” she said.
“We want people to be their best selves behind the wheel of a car.”
There will also be the introduction of portable cameras in the near future, but Ms Pavey insisted the public would be informed of when they will be live and active.
More than 40,000 people were fined by NSW Police for illegal mobile phone use in the 2016/17 financial year.
During an earlier trial at the Prospect site, 11,000 drivers were caught using their phones.
Drivers who are caught using their phones in NSW are currently handed a fine of $337 and five demerit points.
Fully-licenced drivers and motorcyclists can use a mobile phone to make or answer a call or to play audio – but only if it’s either in a cradle fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure the view of the road, and can be operated without touching any part of the phone by using voice activation or Bluetooth.