At a cost of $15.9 million, SA’s first mobile phone detection cameras will soon be installed on major corridors in major cities as the State Government pushes to reduce road injuries caused by distracted drivers.
Following successful trials of the technology earlier this year, five locations have been identified as priority locations for the installation of Mobile Phone Detection Cameras (MPDC) across Adelaide.
- Southern Expressway, Darlington
- South Road, Torrensville
- North South Expressway, Regency Park
- Port Road, Hindmarsh
- Port Wakefield Road, Gepps Cross.
Pending a final technical and environmental review of these five locations, enforcement cameras will be installed on existing digital variable message signage and are expected to be operational by June 2024.
There will be a three-month training period from June to September 2024, during which drivers will not be fined or deducted points. SA Police will then impose a fine. The fine is currently $540 (plus $99 crime victim), and the fine will be deducted by three points. Drivers using cell phones illegally.
All funds raised from fines will be returned to the Regional Road Safety Fund to implement important road safety initiatives across the state, including safety improvements, education programs and extensive public service announcements.
The State Government’s choice of camera locations was based on research by the University of Adelaide Motor Vehicle Safety Research Center and considered crash trends and targeted high-traffic road corridors across different areas of Adelaide.
Carelessness continues to be the cause of around half of lives lost and more than a third of serious injuries on South Australia’s roads.
Delivering another commitment in the State Road Safety Action Plan 2023-25, MPDC will save lives by identifying and stopping drivers who engage in dangerous behavior and endanger themselves and others .
These cameras work by having artificial intelligence software identify the driver on their phone and capture high-quality images from multiple angles through the driver’s windshield.
The driver’s photo will then be verified by SA Police and images of law-abiding drivers will be removed.
Mobile phone detection cameras are already in operation in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, with a three-month grace period in place in the Australian Capital Territory.
The Malinauskas government recently announced a joint commitment with the federal government to provide $168 million in road safety funding, in addition to the $98 million included in the 2023-24 state budget. This will see more than $250 million invested over five years to make South Australia’s roads safer.
Words by Joe Zakacs
With a huge number of lives lost in 2023, these cameras will serve as another important tool to combat driver distraction.
Drivers must pay maximum attention to their driving duties to ensure the safety of themselves as well as other road users around them.
Inattention is the leading cause of death and serious injury on South Australia’s roads, and using a mobile phone while driving has been found to increase the risk of a crash by at least four times.
We are working to change behavior and help drivers realize that there is no safe level of mobile use while driving.
Words from Ian Parrott, Deputy Director of SAPOL National Operations Department
Unfortunately, cell phone use while driving is becoming more and more common, and we’ve all seen someone using their cell phone while driving.
Over the past five years, distraction has played a significant role in crashes in South Australia, resulting in 1,285 serious injuries and 198 lives lost. Between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2022, SA Police officers issued 33,982 discharge orders to drivers/passengers for using a mobile phone while driving; Please know that it is far reaching.
The introduction of mobile phone detection cameras will strengthen South Australia Police’s enforcement capabilities, allowing them to detect people in more locations 24/7 and ultimately contributing to changes in driver behavior. I look forward to it.
Words from Get Home Safe Foundation Chairman Darren Davies
These cameras are just one way to reduce deaths and injuries caused by distraction. But we can all make even bigger changes. I would like everyone in the world to stop thinking that it is OK or bad to drive while looking at or using a mobile device.
Tell your family, friends, or whoever is driving you that if they care about you, please leave their phones alone while they drive.
I believe society has had enough. I can promise you that families who have lost a loved one will never recover from the pain. We strongly encourage you to drive every day to ensure that you and all road users always get home safely to your families.
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