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‘World first’ mobile phone detection cameras welcomed by insurers

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The deployment of high definition cameras in NSW to catch drivers illegally using mobile phones has the backing of the insurance industry.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and leading motor insurers, IAG and Suncorp, say the measure will improve road safety for drivers and pedestrians, as well as drive down claims costs.

“Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal and can impair and distract a driver, potentially leading to fatal accidents,” an IAG spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“The introduction of drivers being penalised if caught by a mobile phone detection camera can help improve and change drivers’ behaviours.”

The NSW Government this month began using all-weather surveillance cameras to clamp down on the offence, becoming the first jurisdiction in the world to do so using the devices.

The state has seen about 182 crashes since 2012 – including 13 deaths and 243 injuries – that were linked to drivers or riders using a mobile phone.

Independent modelling has shown the cameras could prevent around 100 fatal and serious injury crashes over five years, NSW Centre for Road Safety Executive Director of Transport Bernard Carlon said.

“There is strong community support for more enforcement, with 80% of people surveyed supporting the use of detection cameras to stop illegal mobile phone use,” he said.