NSW Police have booked more than 11,000 motorists for illegal mobile phone use since new laws came into force late last year.
Under rules introduced on November 1, a driver cannot hold or touch a mobile phone unless their vehicle is legally parked or they are passing it to a passenger. The laws state that drivers may only use a mobile phone to make or receive calls or to use the audio-playing function if the phone is in a fixed cradle.
Police figures show 11,211 infringements for illegal mobile phone use have been issued since the laws came into effect, amounting to $3.34 million in government revenue, or $25,166 a day. Each offence costs three demerit points and $298 or four demerit points and $398 if caught in a school zone.
The opposition spokesman for roads and ports, Ryan Park, said a large portion of infringements should have been revoked because motorists weren't given adequate warning about the new laws, and therefore couldn't get access to the cradles in time.
"My concern was that no one knew about this change and very quickly we saw a huge flood of people going and getting these cradles and, inevitably, what that means is that not everyone got them in time and people got pinged," he said.
"What I said from the get-go was that this needed to be introduced over a period of time with adequate information and a promotional campaign so people knew about it, understood the dangers and got enough time to get out there and do the right thing. That didn't happen."
The general manager of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, Margaret Prendergast, disputed Mr Park's claims, pointing to an awareness campaign that included print and radio advertising.
"The mobile phone laws were changed in late 2012 to send a message to motorists that the rule is about the gravity of the risk and the increasingly reckless behaviour we were seeing from people using phones while driving," she said. "Transport for NSW has rolled out an extensive communications campaign to coincide with the amendment to the mobile phone road rules in late 2012.''
Under the laws, functions including texting, video messaging and emailing are prohibited. To use GPS on phones, the handset must be placed in a fixed mounting in a spot that does not distract the driver. Learner and P1 drivers and riders are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving.
Similar laws are also in force in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.