These traffic cameras can spot you using your phone while driving

Australia will start implementing AI-powered mobile phone detection cameras this month.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown

Australia is serious about keeping your eyes on the road. 

NSW Transport/ Screenshot by Shelby Brown/ CNET

Australia is cracking down on drivers who use cellphones while behind the wheel. The government of New South Wales is implementing a new AI-based camera system designed to spot mobile phones  in cars. The program plans to perform 135 million checks in NSW by 2023. According to a video from the NSW Transport Department, the cameras can work during the day or at night, in any weather or speed zone. 

To let drivers adjust, warning letters will be sent to those spotted using phones by the cameras for the first three months. Australia uses a points system for drivers -- unrestricted driver's licenses have 13 points. After the first three months, drivers caught using their phones illegally will lose five points and be issued a $344 fine. During other periods, the penalty could increase to 10 points. If a driver loses all of their points, they could lose their license.

When the program was tested last year, the cameras spotted over 100,000 drivers illegally using phones behind the wheel. In a release last month, Bernard Carlon, executive director of transport for NSW's Center for Road Safety, said that the cameras could prevent 100 fatal or serious injury crashes over five years. 

"There is strong community support for more enforcement, with 80% of people surveyed supporting the use of detection cameras to stop illegal mobile phone use," Carlon said in the release.  

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