The ACT Government is investigating the introduction of mobile phone detection cameras to help address the significant safety concerns arising from illegal phone use.
Funding was allocated to this initiative in the recent mid-year budget.
Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said addressing driver distraction is a high priority for the ACT Government.
“Drivers using mobile phones and other devices while driving is extremely dangerous. Research has shown that distracted drivers, such as those who look at their mobile phones while driving, are three times more likely to be involved in a crash,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Drivers are continuing to use their mobile phones while driving. At 60km/h, looking at your phone for just three seconds means you are driving blind for 50 metres.
“Distracted driving is not on. Drivers who engage in this practice are endangering the lives of everyone on our roads.
“To combat this significant road safety issue, the ACT Government is now exploring the possible future introduction of mobile phone detection cameras, similar to those rolled out in NSW.
“These are measures that can be controversial, but I think the Canberra community would support these cameras, because they want to be safe on the road, and they are tired of people driving dangerously and distracted.”
The first stage will focus on a framework for possible introduction of these cameras into the ACT road environment, including assessing appropriate locations, identifying the most appropriate types of cameras for the ACT, and the privacy safeguards required. This work will inform any legislative reforms required to enable the use of these cameras in the ACT in the future.
Any cameras deployed will complement existing police enforcement, which saw 1,278 infringement notices issued for illegal mobile phone use on our roads in the 2018-19 financial year.
“Texting, calling or even looking at your phone while driving is dangerous and continues to be a significant road safety concern for the community. Put your phone down,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Media contact: Lisa Wills M 0481 035 764 E Lisa.Wills@act.gov.au