Sydney

Motorists using the M4 motorway in Sydney's west and Anzac Parade in the city's east who illegally use mobile phones while driving will from January be identified using new high-tech camera systems.

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey announced on Sunday an Australian company had been selected to install the systems. The selection of the company, Acusensus, follows an earlier trial in October in which more than 11,000 drivers a day were detected illegally using their phone.

Motorists captured using their mobile phones while at the wheel will not, initially, be fined. But that will change provided the trial is successful.

"If at the end of the trial, the technology proves to be foolproof, the community will be made aware of its permanent use,” Mrs Pavey said.

The Roads Minister said 74 per cent of NSW residents supported the use of cameras to enforce mobile phone use.

"I strongly believe this technology will change driver behaviour and save lives,” Mrs Pavey said.

The managing director of Acusensus, Alex Jannink, said he wanted to pursue mobile phone use detection schemes after his friend was killed.

“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.

Acusensus' system can operate in all weather conditions. It uses both high-definition cameras and artificial intelligence to capture offending drivers.

Earlier trials of related technology have documented numerous examples of dangerous and sometimes outrageous behaviour by NSW drivers.

"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.

Surveillance by a company called One Task this year estimated that between 5 and 7 per cent of drivers use mobiles while driving at high speeds.

In the five years to 2017, 184 crashes in NSW involved illegal mobile phone use. These resulted in seven deaths and 105 injuries.

Source| The Sydney Morning Herald

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