Move over speed cameras, text-and-drive cameras are coming to Sydney

Brad Buzzard 19 December 2018 NEWS

Sydney will be the first city in the world to pilot the technology.

People who text and drive have been put on notice as Transport for NSW begins piloting text-and-drive cameras at two locations in Sydney. The cameras will be deployed on the M4 and Anzac Parade in January 2019 for an indeterminate amount of time.

According to research by finder.com.au, up to 20% of the population currently text and drive. Although busted drivers won't receive any fines during the pilot period, the tech could eventually become permanent and fines will be inevitable.

NSW minister for roads, Melinda Pavey, is confident in the pilot after an initial testing phase detected 11,000 drivers using their phones illegally.

"Shockingly, one driver was pictured with two hands on his phone while his passenger steered the car travelling at 80 km/h, putting everyone on the road at risk," Mrs Pavey said in a statement.

The testing phase was essentially a job interview in which three tech companies vied for the contract back in October 2018. Acusensus came out on top and is the brains behind the cameras.

Acusensus managing director, Alex Jannink, says he developed the technology after someone who was texting and driving caused a collision that killed Jannink's friend.

"Since my friend James was killed by an impaired and phone-distracted driver five years ago, I have had a strong desire to develop this technology to save lives," Mr Jannink said.

Previous attempts to stamp out the problem have been unsuccessful and Pavey says the public is clamouring for an end to such needless and tragic accidents. "Seventy-four percent of the NSW community support the use of cameras to enforce mobile phone offences. I strongly believe this technology will change driver behaviour and save lives," she said.

Looking at your phone while driving could not only land you significant fines, it could also set you back thousands of dollars if you cause an accident. Making matters worse, your insurer could deny any claims related to the accident if you were found to be acting recklessly. On the other hand, if an uninsured driver hits you while texting and driving, a comprehensive car insurance policy will cover damage to your car even when the other driver can't pay up.

Picture: Shutterstock

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