A trial of cameras designed to detect drivers using mobile phones is now taking place in Victoria.
The camera trial began this week and will run for three months.
"The trial will help understand how this technology can be integrated with the existing road safety camera systems and ensure the cameras operate effectively and accurately, so fines issued under a full rollout are appropriate," a Victorian government spokesperson said.
The cameras will be moved between 11 sites around the state, and while the exact locations will not be revealed, the trial will include the central Victorian region.
The cameras will also be tested for possible future use in detecting other offences.
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Bendigo Highway Patrol's Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said police officers in the region came across motorists using their phones while driving every day, and the use of phones in vehicles had not dropped as expected.
"Using a mobile phone while you're driving, especially holding it in your hand, is dangerous in the extreme," Senior Sergeant Brooks said.
Drivers who use a phone behind the wheel increase the risk they will cause a fatal crash fourfold, while drivers and riders in distraction-related crashes make up about one in 10 road deaths.
Senior Sergeant Brooks said police investigations showed the use of phones had been the cause of serious and fatal crashes in the Bendigo area.
Motorists who are caught using a mobile phone will cop four demerit points and a fine of almost $500.
If the camera technology is rolled out across Victoria, the cameras will be able to operate in any location, 24 hours a day.
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The cameras can capture high-resolution images in all weather conditions, and the images can be reviewed in real time.
But no infringements will be issued to motorists caught using phones by the cameras in the trial phase.
"Images that do not contain evidence of an offence will be permanently deleted, and those that indicate that an offence may have occurred will be assessed to determine if the technology is suitable for use in Victoria," the spokesperson said.
Fully licensed drivers can only use a phone in the car to listen to audio and music, make or receive a call, or use GPS, if it is in a proper phone holder affixed to the vehicle, or can be operated without touch.
For all other functions, the driver must pull over and park.
Learner and probationary drivers cannot use a phone at all while driving.
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