By Juliano Oliveira
Mobile phone detection cameras are ready to be used in Queensland this week as part of an evaluation trial until Christmas.
Drivers and passengers not wearing a seatbelt will also be monitored by electronic devices. During the six-month trial, no one will be fined or receive a photograph of their illegal behaviour.
According to the State Government, the cameras are transportable and can be installed on overpasses and bridges or operate from trailers at the roadside.
The beginning of the trials with specialised cameras that can monitor vehicles across multi-traffic lanes had to be postponed in April because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Legislation authorising the permanent use of cameras on Queensland roads passed earlier this month.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said 33 Queensland lives were confirmed to have been lost in 2018 alone due to driver distraction, while another 1,359 people were hospitalised.
So far in 2020, 132 lives have been lost on Queensland roads, 18 more than the previous year.
“The message is direct and very simple: just put your phone away,” Mr Bailey said.
“Using your mobile phone when you’re behind the wheel is as dangerous as drunk and drug driving.”
Queensland will base this new experience on the same method employed in New South Wales where cameras caught 21,000 drivers using handheld devices in their first two months of operation alone.
RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said the Club supported the trial with driver distraction the fastest growing problem on Queensland roads.
“Mobile phone detection cameras give police greater ability to catch those doing the wrong thing, risking their lives and everyone else on the road by using their mobile phones,” Mr Turner said.