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SA launches first mobile detection cameras to target distracted drivers

The SA government has announced the four locations where the technology will be operating, including a fifth site that is set to be unveiled soon ahead of the three-month grace period

The South Australian government has announced the state’s first mobile phone detection cameras have been installed at key metropolitan corridors, with the state now testing to reduce dangerous distractions behind the wheel.

Overhead cameras have been installed at four busy locations across Adelaide, targeting drivers using their mobile phones and putting others at risk on the roads.

Sites such as at South Road, Torrensville have begun testing, with SA Police detecting that one in 84 drivers on that corridor are using their mobile phones at an average of 177 incidents per day during a single-lane trial of the technology last year.

Between April 1 and 28 last year, 4,955 incidents were detected from 415,805 passing vehicles at an offence rate of 1.19 per cent.

The cameras are part of the SA government’s $15.9 million investment to curb road incidents and secure safety.

The SA government says driver inattention, including phone use, is a contributing factor in around half of all lives lost and over a third of serious injuries.

The other three sites for the mobile phone detection cameras include at Darlington’s Southern Expressway, North-South Motorway in Regency Park and Gepps Cross’ Port Wakefield Road.

A fifth site at Hindmarsh’s Port Road is also set to go live for testing in coming weeks.

This program is a response to 117 lives being lost on South Australian roads last year, with 27 lives being lost in 2024, of which seven have been linked to distraction.

During the testing phase from this month onwards, vehicles will be photographed and validated by SA Police, with no further action to be taken against drivers until June 19 when the three-month grace period ends.

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

The funds raised will then be returned to the Community Road Safety Fund to continue improving road safety in the state.

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 SA 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.

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