Trial starts of technology which aims to catch drivers on the phone

Joanna Estrada
July 11, 2018

The technology picks up the phone signal in the vehicle and activates a roadside warning sign of a mobile with a red line through it.

Council leaders and police have unveiled a new weapon in the fight to stop drivers using mobile phones when they're behind the wheel.

The technology can not yet log number plates or be used to help catch offending drivers, but it is hoped it will act as a deterrent.

Despite being unable to pick up whether the driver is using the phone, it is hoped it will act as a deterrent to people making calls behind the wheel. A study in 2016 found that nearly a third of motorists admitted to making phone calls, sending texts, posting on social media...

The system is able to simultaneously detect bluetooth signals so that anyone legally in a call via their car's speakers is not wrongly issued a warning.

"It's a huge problem on our roads and drivers know there is no remote detection system".

Norfolk County Council's Road Safety team have developed the technology in partnership with vehicle sign technology local company Westcotec.

Officials admit that it can not detect whether a driver or their passenger is using a phone and the warning sign may therefore flash even if no offence is being committed.

Norfolk County Council's road safety team have worked with speed and warning sign specialists Westcotec on deploying the next-level signs, which are a first for United Kingdom roads.

"Hopefully, as time goes on it will become as socially unacceptable as drink driving".

In 2016, figures from the Department for Transport showed that drivers using mobile phones were involved in accidents which killed the equivalent of one person every 10 days in 2016.

Statistics from the devices will be shared with Norfolk Police, the county council said.

Jonathan Chapman, inspector of the Norfolk Roads Policing Unit said: "We will be using the information to help us target drivers in the future but the message is simple - leave your phone alone whilst you're behind the wheel".

The system will initially be used at sites in Attleborough, Holt, Norwich and Toftwood.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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