BATHURST and Central West drivers will be among the targets of a world-first rollout of cameras to detect people illegally using their mobile phones while behind the wheel.
Fixed cameras were trialled on two major Sydney roads, the M4 motorway and Anzac Parade, between January and April this year followed by an extra two months of trials of relocatable cameras at a number of sites across the city.
The cameras checked around 8.5 million vehicles and caught more than 100,000 drivers illegally using their phones while behind the wheel.
A statewide rollout of cameras has now been ordered from the start of 2020 and Bathurst MP and Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole said country areas would be targeted as well as the big cities.
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"The exact locations are yet to be determined at this point but there will be fixed and relocatable phone detectors and we can expect they will be used across Bathurst and the Central West," Mr Toole said.
"We're finding that with fatalities on our roads, 70 per cent are in the bush and mobile phone use is one of the three big killers.
"The trial we ran detected 100,000 people using a mobile phone while driving. The images showed them with phones on their lap or even texting while driving.
"They're not only putting themselves at risk but other people on the road as well."
GALLERY: A trial caught more than 100,000 drivers illegally using their phones ...
Mr Toole said the new cameras would come into operation on January 1 but, for the first three months, offending drivers will only be issued a warning letter.
After that there will be a $344 fine and the loss of five demerit points, or 10 during double demerit periods.
The relocatable cameras will be able to target drivers on both highways and local roads across the Bathurst region and there will be no warning signs set up, as is currently required with the use of mobile speed cameras.
"There is a really bad culture in this country of using your phone while driving and we have to stop it," Mr Toole said.
"The money generated through the use of these cameras will go back into road safety campaigns and saving lives on country roads."
Tech company Acusensus will conduct the rollout.