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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Canberra motorists to cop phone fines from next week

Motorists caught by mobile device detection cameras illegally using their mobile device while driving will be issued an infringement and demerit points from next Tuesday, 20 February.

The start of infringements follows a three-month warning period which saw cameras detecting more than 18,000 Canberrans using their mobile device while driving.

Since the introduction of mobile device detection cameras across Canberra in February last year, over 63,000 drivers have been detected using mobile devices while driving, equating to 180 drivers daily.

While the monthly detection rate for the transportable and fixed cameras is gradually decreasing over time, there are still too many people using their mobile device while driving, putting all other road users at risk, said ACT Government Executive Branch Manager, Strategic Policy and Programs, Kirra Cox.

“Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles the risk of a crash, with mobile phones often being the source of that distraction,” said Ms Cox.

“From next week, infringements for offences detected by the cameras will commence, resulting in fines of $514 and three demerit points.

“Canberra drivers need to make road safety a priority. Set yourself up before getting behind the wheel of a car to avoid being distracted by your mobile device while driving.

“Now is the time to change bad habits, put your phone down and prioritise getting yourself and all road users home safely.”

Ms Cox said the warning period had worked as intended in changing people’s behaviour, but if you commit an offence that’s detected by one of these cameras you can expect to cop a fine from 20 February.

Transportable Cameras (commenced 14 Feb 2023) 
Month Total detectionsDetections per 100 vehicles
Oct-232,3890.27%
Nov-232,6270.25%
Dec-231,6270.19%
Jan-241,3720.15%
 
   
Hindmarsh Drive Fixed Cameras (commenced late May 2023)
Month Total detections Detections per 100 vehicles 
Oct-233,1470.69%
Nov-233,0370.61%
Dec-231,7810.43%
Jan-241,6840.39%
   
Gungahlin Drive Fixed Cameras (commenced late Nov 2023) 
Month Total detectionsDetections per 100 vehicles
Nov-231,3800.94%
Dec-234,9080.75%
Jan-243,4070.53%

To support the start of infringements for offences detected by the cameras, the ACT Government will undertake the fourth phase of a comprehensive community education campaign encouraging drivers to ‘stop it or cop it’. The campaign will run across multiple paid media and outdoor signage channels targeting drivers before they get in their car and during their commute.

Following the commencement of infringements on Tuesday, 20 February, motorists can expect to receive infringement notices in their mailbox by early March.

“The ACT Government understands that some Canberra households are facing cost of living pressures. Payment plans will be available for vulnerable members of the community who may struggle to pay the infringement in full,” the Government said in a statement.

More information on payment plans is available at www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/driving-transport-and-parking/traffic-and-parking/ways-to-pay-a-fine-infringement.

Know the rules

With one week to go until infringements commence, Canberrans are being urged to ensure they fully understand the ACT’s mobile device road rules and be prepared.

While a vehicle is moving, or stationary, such as being stopped at traffic lights, the driver cannot use a mobile device. They cannot hold the device or operate any function of the device, including for video calling, texting, emailing, social media, web browsing or photography.

Drivers cannot have a mobile device resting on, or kept in place by, any part of their body such as their lap or leg, tucked between their leg and the seat, between their shoulder and ear, or an item on their lap.

For information on permitted interactions visit www.cityservices.act.gov.au/roads-and-paths/road-safety/mobile-distraction.

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