NSW wants mobile phone enforcement technology
Transport for NSW is tendering for a system to detect drivers using mobile phones illegally.
Transport for NSW is asking potential vendors to contact them with pitches for technology to detect drivers flouting mobile phone traffic laws.
Illegal phone use while driving
Illegal phone use is a big problem for the state. From 2012 - 2017, mobile phones caused 184 crashes on NSW roads, some with deadly results. Seven people lost their lives and 105 received injuries thanks to these incidents. Last year, 40,000 drivers were fined by police for using their phones while driving.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey warned drivers that a split-second glance at their phone could spell disaster.
“It’s worth remembering that at 60 kilometres per hour, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds. Take your eyes off the road to look at your phone for a few seconds and you continue to travel, virtually blind,” Pavey said.
Call for help to combat the problem
Currently, Transport for NSW run education campaigns as well as a graduated licensing scheme to control phone use on the move. They also rely on police officers visually witnessing an offence. Recent reports have shown drivers know phone use while driving is dangerous, but choose to take the risk.
The government department is looking for technology providers to approach them with ideas to detect and convict mobile phone using drivers in real-world conditions. The tender listing asks providers if their solution is a concept, prototype or completed product and also how it works.
They are investigating the use of manual and automatic camera systems, electromagnetic field analysers or smartphone detection applications, plus any other ideas tech companies might have.
The final product could take a photo of a driver using their phone, capture the vehicle’s registration or record a video of the scene. Systems will also need to work day or night.
Minister Pavey said the technology forms part of the NSW Road Safety Plan for 2021.
“Developing this technology would be a world first and is one of the priorities of our Road Safety Plan 2021,” said Pavey.
Current phone laws
Currently, learner drivers are not permitted to use phones at all in a vehicle. Drivers with a full NSW licence may make and receive calls, use a smartphone’s audio streaming or navigation functions, but they must do so entirely hands-free. The phone also needs to be in a cradle.