THE state government is spending $33.7 million on technology that can detect drivers using their mobile phones.
Legislation will also be introduced to back up the methods being used to detect “distracted” drivers.
A three-month trial assessed 679,438 vehicles and found that one in 42 drivers were illegally using a mobile phone while driving.
The trial was conducted while stage four coronavirus restrictions were in place, leading authorities to believe the rate of offending could be higher when roads are busier and movement is not restricted.
Using two portable cameras across several metropolitan and regional locations, the trial found the highest rates of mobile phone use at Craigieburn Road East, Wollert (one in 18 drivers), Calder Park Drive, Hillside (one in 21) and Old Geelong Road, Laverton (one in 28).
The new technology can also detect drivers not wearing a seatbelt, driving without hands on the wheel or with pets on laps.
Research from Monash University Accident Research Centre estimates the technology – scheduled to be rolled out by 2023 – can prevent 95 casualty crashes a year.