In a world first, an Australian company has begun trialling new technology in Sydney that uses artificial intelligence to identify commuters illegally using mobile phones while driving.

Transportation safety company Acusensus has installed cameras on the M4 at Prospect and Anzac Parade at Moore Park, following extensive testing last year. The pilot phase will run until early April, during which time no fines will be issued.

NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, said the cameras use artificial intelligence and can operate day or night and in all weather conditions.

“I strongly believe this technology will change driver behaviour. With the start of a new year, I’m urging those who illegally use their phone to start with a new habit. Put your phone away or secure it in a cradle,” Mrs Pavey said.

74 per cent of the community support the use of cameras to enforce mobile phone offences.

“We’ve seen how effective these cameras are. During the month long test period in October, more than 11,000 drivers were detected using a mobile phone illegally,” Mrs Pavey said.

A decision about the long-term deployment of the cameras will be made after the pilot. The cameras are expected to make more than five million observations of vehicles over 90 days.

Last financial year, around 40,000 fines were issued for illegal mobile phone use while driving with 30 to 39 year old drivers receiving the most fines at 11,695.

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