Phones have taken over our lives, so much so that we feel naked if we accidentally leave it at home. I will be the first to admit that I always have my phone within one meter at all times. For work yes, but also because at any moment my cat could do something adorably cute that I must capture to then force upon my friends and family even though they have told me numerous times to stop.
Anyway, I digress.
There are times, however we should not be touching our phones. One of these noteworthy times is while we are driving.
New road safety cameras are being installed in New South Wales over the weekend to catch out drivers who are fiddling with their phones. It comes after an announcement by the NSW Government in 2018, to introduce these cameras in a bid to reduce the fatalities on the state’s road by up to 30 percent over two years.
A trial was run from January 2019 to June 2019 which saw over 100,000 drivers illegally using their mobile phone. If this had been live and not a trial, this would have equated to almost $35 million in revenue for NSW. That’s some serious cash.
Unlike speed cameras, these phone detectors will not have warning signs for approaching drivers, so that the element of surprise remains. Ultimately the Government has stressed that this is not about the money, but the safety on our roads.
Upon installation, there will be a three month grace period for drivers who are caught and they will receive a warning letter in the mail. This is where the leniency ends however, with a penalty of five demerit points and a $344 fine, this jumps to $457 if you are caught in a school zone.
With the cameras launching just in time for the holiday period, that means double demerit penalities apply as well. Meaning if you are caught by these cameras from Friday December 20 through to Sunday January 5 you are facing a loss of 10 demerit points. Are you sweating? Because I am.
Other states across Australia are also looking to introduce similar technology in the future, so if you are a keen phone fondler behind the wheel, perhaps start practicing putting it out of arm’s reach, installing bluetooth, putting it on airplane mode so you don’t receive notifications, or simply just switching it off all together.
Overall though, these new cameras are a friendly reminder for all of us to just stop with the separation anxiety and the need to have our phones all the time. Driving is serious business. Put on some tunes, a true crime podcast or whatever it is that helps you drive better. But leave the texting and social media searching for later.
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