Drivers caught illegally using mobile phones in NSW will be handed the toughest penalty in Australia when the offence’s demerit point penalty rises on Monday.
The penalty will increase from four to five demerit points. In holidays periods, it will increase to a staggering 10 points, up from eight.
It continues the government’s crackdown after legislation was passed earlier this year to support testing of camera technology to enforce mobile phone offences.
Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said illegal mobile phone use is a growing problem in NSW and is under-reported in road crashes.
“Last financial year over 40,000 people were fined for using a mobile phone while driving and we know around 25 per cent of drivers in NSW admit to doing it,” he said.
“At 60km/h, a car travels 33 metres in two seconds, at 100km/h it travels 55 metres. Take your eyes off the road for a few seconds and you continue to travel, virtually blind.
“Such a short lapse of concentration can have significant and devastating consequences and from 2012 to 2017, nine people lost their lives and 50 people were seriously injured because someone was using a mobile phone while driving.”
The fine is not changing and remains $337, or $448 if detected in a school zone.