The NSW parliament has passed laws that will allow speed cameras to be used to crack down on the illegal use of mobile phones in cars.
The bill – known as the Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Bill 2018 – was introduced in March following the release of the state’s four-year road safety plan.
It passed through both houses of parliament this week.
The bill allows for “the adoption of new and emerging camera technology” to enforce mobile phone driving offences and “achieve greater deterrence”.
It also allows for existing traffic enforcement devices such as speed cameras to be used if they are deemed appropriate.
The government said the introduction of the technology in NSW would be one of the first instances of the technology “in the western world”.
“This amendment will place NSW in a position to be an early adopter of emerging technology,” NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said.
The law makes good on the government’s promise to use camera systems to detect mobile phone use in its road safety plan.
The plan has a goal to reduce fatalities on NSW roads by 30 percent by 2021.
The government expects that the new technology will help augment the efforts of NSW Police in the same way automated camera enforcement had done for speeding and red-light infringements.
“While more than 40,000 infringements were issued by police for illegal mobile phone use in the 2016-17 financial year, emerging automated camera and software technology presents an opportunity to supplement police enforcement and further deter motorists from using mobile phones illegally,” Pavey said.
Last month Transport for NSW began looking for potential solutions to help detect the illegal use of mobile phones while driving.