New driver distraction rules to come into play

The Victorian government is introducing new driver distraction road rules, which will come into play from March 31.

The new rules will extend existing mobile phone rules to cover modern technology, including in-built vehicle systems, mounted devices, wearable and portable devices like smartwatches and tablets – and will bring Victoria in line with the Australian Road Rules.

Motorists caught driving distracted will receive penalties of four demerit points and a $555 fine. Community awareness campaigns will run over the coming months.

The Victorian Government is also investing $33.7 million as part of the Victorian Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 to introduce new mobile phone and seatbelt detection camera technology that will help catch people using their mobile phones and not wearing their seatbelts while driving.

Mobile phone and seatbelt detection technologies involve AI-enabled camera systems that can capture high-resolution images of passing vehicles in all conditions, including poor weather and low light levels when distracted driving is even more dangerous.

The new camera technology will be operational on Victorian roads in coming months. A three-month warning period will apply from the technology’s activation before drivers face infringement and demerit penalties.

“Too many drivers continue to put lives at risk using mobile phones behind the wheel. We’re deterring this type of risky behaviour on our roads with these new road rules, as well as phone and seatbelt detection technology,” said Minister for Police Anthony Carbines.

“We need every motorist to make the right decisions when they’re behind the wheel. When they don’t, road safety cameras and Victoria Police are there to hold them accountable.”

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