A mobile phone detection camera.
A mobile phone detection camera. Mark Stewart

Mobile phone detection cameras rolled out in QLD trial

SNEAKING a peek at your phone while driving?

New cameras might just catch you at it as the Queensland Government trials new artificial technology to catch drivers using their phones or not wearing a seatbelt.

The cameras started operating today, however the Queensland Government won't be publishing where and when they are in operation. Both fixed and portable cameras will be used during a trial that is expected to go until the end of the year.

"Portable cameras will be trialled in both urban and regional areas across Queensland. These cameras will be moved to multiple locations throughout the trial," the government announced on its Department of Transport and Main Roads website.

Drivers who are snapped by the new machines won't cop a fine just yet. Instead, drivers have been warned police will use 'traditional' methods to enforce laws on phone and seatbelt use.

The cameras work by snapping overhead images of the cabin of cars that pass by, as well as images of their number plates.

It means front seat passengers not wearing a seatbelt will also be caught out by the new technology.

The government said the cameras were not designed to identify people and that images without unsafe phone or seatbelt use would be deleted.

"Images will not be used for any other purpose, except to check the registration status of a vehicle," the government said.

If the trial works, the government plans to adopt the technology state-wide. Queensland drivers face one of the harshest fines for mobile phone use while driving, at $1000.

Similar mobile phone detection cameras are already in use in NSW, where drivers captured on camera breaking the rules face a $349 fine and five demerit points. 

In Victoria, a similar trial is set to start on Wednesday. 

A Victorian Government statement said the technology could help prevent up to 95 crashes a year. It said more than 30,000 people across the state were caught driving and using their phones illegally in 2017-18.