Roadside technology will detect phones being used behind wheel

Joanna Estrada
July 12, 2018

It then flashes a symbol of a mobile phone with a line through it to remind drivers not to touch their handsets while behind the wheel.

Although the technology can not record specific number plates, data generated from the system, including the number of activations and the times of day they take place, will be shared with Norfolk police who might then use it to set up future crackdowns.

Inspector Jonathan Chapman from Norfolk Roads Policing said: "This scheme is a good example of how we can work with local authorities to make using a mobile phone whilst driving as socially unacceptable as drink or drug-driving".

It is the first system of its kind to be used on roads in the United Kingdom and was developed by warning sign specialists Westcotec along with Norfolk County Council's road safety team.

Chris Spinks, from the company's sales team and a former head of roads policing in the region, told The Times that the system was designed to "educate and inform the driver" - Westcotec has no plans to create tech for use in prosecutions.

New Zealand, Argentina, and Slovenia are considering similar technology.

Diane Steiner, deputy director of public health said: "Our priority in public health is to make Norfolk a healthy and safe place to live and the new technology enables us to provide a reminder to drivers who may be using their handset whilst driving".

Using your phone while driving in the UK?

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.

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

Iain Temperton, team manager for road safety at the county council, described the technology as "cutting-edge" and said it would be used an "educational tool" throughout Norfolk to tackle the problem.

Mobile phone detection sign in operation on Holt Road, Norwich.

"We are glad to assist Norfolk County Council in promoting awareness about the dangers of mobile phone use in the vehicle".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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