Phone detection testing begins in South Australia

Testing is underway on SA’s first mobile phone detection cameras installed at key metropolitan corridors in a bid to reduce dangerous distraction behind the wheel.

Testing is currently in progress on South Australia’s inaugural mobile phone detection cameras, strategically placed along vital urban routes to mitigate hazardous distractions while driving. Overhead cameras have been installed at four bustling sites throughout Adelaide, specifically targeting motorists who engage with their mobile devices, endangering themselves and fellow road users.

The trial sites encompass South Road in Torrensville, where South Australian Police previously identified one out of every 84 drivers utilising mobile phones, amounting to an average of 177 infractions daily during a preliminary assessment of the technology in a single-lane setup last year.

“If you swipe, tap or text behind the wheel, you are putting yourself, your passengers and the community at risk,” Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services Dan Cregan said.

“Testing these cameras gives plenty of notice for every driver to consider their behaviour and, if required, to change it.

“The trial conducted last year highlights just how many wrongly think it’s acceptable to use their phones, when the tragedies on our roads continue to show the devastating results.”  

From April 1st to April 28th, 2023, a total of 4,955 violations were recorded among 415,805 vehicles passing through, resulting in an offence rate of 1.19 percent. These cameras, funded by a $15.9 million investment from the State Government, are geared towards reducing road accidents and enhancing safety measures by addressing the pervasive behaviour that escalates a driver’s risk of collision by at least fourfold.

Driver inattention, encompassing mobile phone usage, is a significant contributing factor in approximately half of all traffic fatalities and more than a third of severe injuries—a pressing concern that the government is steadfastly committed to tackling head-on.

Mobile phone detection cameras have been fitted on existing digital signage at:

  • South Road, Torrensville
  • Southern Expressway, Darlington
  • North-South Motorway, Regency Park
  • Port Wakefield Road, Gepps Cross

A fifth site, at Port Road in Hindmarsh, will go live for testing in the coming weeks.

Last year 117 lives were lost on South Australian roads, while 856 people suffered serious injuries. Of the 27 lives lost in 2024, seven have been linked to distraction along with 123 serious injuries.

During the testing phase from April 2024, vehicles will be photographed and validated by SA Police but no further action will be taken against drivers until 19 June 2024 when a three-month grace period begins.

During this grace period, vehicle owners will be issued with a warning letter advising them that the driver of their vehicle has been detected by the camera.

From 19 September 2024, SA Police will issue fines to vehicle owners or drivers, which are currently $540 (plus a $99 Victims of Crime levy) and three demerit points.

All funds raised from the fines will be returned to the Community Road Safety Fund, to deliver crucial initiatives across the state, including road safety improvements, education programs and hard-hitting public advertising.

Camera locations were selected based on research by Adelaide University’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research, considering crash trends and targeting busy road corridors across metropolitan Adelaide.

The cameras work by capturing high quality images from multiple angles through the driver’s windscreen, with artificial intelligence software identifying drivers on their mobile phones.

Photographs of drivers are then validated by SA Police, with images of those following the law deleted.

The State Government initiative builds on the $168 million Road Safety Program jointly funded with the Commonwealth, in addition to $98 million included in the 2023-24 State Budget – totalling more than a quarter of a billion dollars invested over five years to make South Australian roads safer.

More News

To Top