Mobile phone detection cameras now live in Adelaide

Mobile detection cameras are now live in Adelaide as part of a $15.9 million initiative, as the state government pushes to reduce road trauma caused by driver distraction.

Around half of all lives lost and over a third of serious injuries on South Australian roads are related to driver distraction.

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SAPOL’s assistant commissioner Ian Parrot says that unfortunately mobile phone use is becoming increasingly common while driving.

“Over the past five years, distraction has played a significant part in causing crashes that resulted in 1,285 serious injuries and 198 lives lost in South Australia,” he says.

“The introduction of Mobile Phone Detection Cameras will enhance South Australia Police’s enforcement capabilities to detect people 24/7 in more locations, and we hope this will ultimately contribute to changing driver behaviour.”

Parrot says from January 1 2018, to December 31 2022, 33,982 expiations were issued by SA Police to motorists for using a mobile phone while driving.

The state government’s selection of camera locations is based on research by Adelaide University’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research, considering crash trends and targeting busy roads across different areas of Adelaide.

Five priority locations across Adelaide have installed the mobile phone detection cameras (MPDC):

  • Southern Expressway, Darlington
  • South Road, Torrensville
  • North South Motorway, Regency Park
  • Port Road, Hindmarsh
  • Port Wakefield Road, Gepps Cross.

The cameras are installed on existing digital variable message signage and a three-month educational period is operating from June to September 2024, where drivers will not be fined or lose demerit points.

Following this grace period,  SA Police will issue fines that are currently $540 (plus $99 victims of crime levy) and three demerit points for drivers who illegally use their mobile phone.

The Community Road Safety Fund will receive all funds raised from fines, to deliver crucial road safety initiatives across the state, including safety improvements, education programs and hard-hitting public advertising.

South Australian MP Joe Szakacs says these cameras are crucial tools in addressing driver distraction and highlights the importance of drivers giving their full attention to the roads, to not only ensure their own, but others safety on the road also.

“We know inattention is the leading cause of death and serious injury on South Australian roads, with using a mobile phone while driving increasing your crash risk by at least four times,” he says.

‘We’re out to change behaviour and help drivers realise that there is no safe level of mobile use while driving.”

These cameras work by capturing high quality images from multiple angles through the driver’s windscreen, with artificial intelligence software identifying drivers on their mobile phones.

Photographs of drivers are then validated by SA Police, with images of those following the law deleted.

Get Home Safe Foundation president Darren Davis says to spread the word to family members and friends to leave the phone alone while driving.

“I truly believe that society has had enough. I can promise you that families who have lost loved ones never, ever recover from the heartache,” he says.

“We urge everyone to drive so that they, and all road users always get home safe to their families… every day.”

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