A driver pictured using their phone while driving.
A driver pictured using their phone while driving.

Possible new phone detection cameras for Toowoomba

MOBILE phone detection cameras could be rolled out in Toowoomba as part of a statewide trial.

While a Department of Main Roads spokeswoman could not say definitively whether the cameras, which can also detect if passengers aren't wearing seatbelts, would be rolled out into the city, they did not say they wouldn't be.

"During the trial, cameras will be moved to multiple locations throughout the state and motorists should assume they could be located anywhere, anytime," the spokeswoman said.

The new technology also could be in different locations to approved speed camera sites.

"Illegal mobile phone use and failing to wear a seatbelt costs lives and account for significant serious injuries on Queensland roads," the TMR spokeswoman said.

"This is why we are trialling camera technology to detect these offences.

"Cameras will be located at sites that will deliver road safety benefits, and may be different to locations that target speed and red light offences.

"From January 1 to July 29, 2020, there were 142 fatalities as a result of crashes within Queensland, which is 24 fatalities (or 20.3 per cent) greater than the same period for the previous year and five fatalities (or 4.0 per cent) greater than the previous five year average for the same period."

The trial of the new cameras was announced by Transport Minister Mark Bailey at the weekend.

The hi-tech cameras can be installed on overpasses and bridges or simply operate from trailers at the roadside.

Mr Bailey said Queensland drivers caught doing the wrong thing during the six-month trial won't be fined or receive a photograph of their illegal behaviour.

"Initially, we are simply evaluating the cameras effectiveness," he said.

The breakthrough AI technology installed in the latest mobile detection cameras allows them to operate 24/7.

Using artificial intelligence, the system scans images of the drivers to detect the possibility of mobile device use.

While all vehicles at the camera site are scanned, images will only be viewed by authorised personnel as part of the testing process.

The Queensland trial to test the technology will be located throughout Queensland, including many regional locations.

In February the State Government increased the fines for drivers caught using their phones behind the wheel to $1000 and four demerit points.

About 2300 offences have been detected since then.

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