Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Mobile phone warning road signs 'a United Kingdom first'

Sandy Mccarthy | 11 July, 2018, 00:25

Road signs that know when a mobile phone is being used in a moving vehicle are being installed in Norfolk, in a bid to tackle usage behind the wheel.

The road signs work by using a scanner to detect the radio signals emitted when someone in the auto is connected to a call, with this data used to illuminate a sign further down the road. It can detect when a phone is being used in a hands-free system or via Bluetooth, in which case the sign won't be triggered.

The first of three £6,000 electronic signs was yesterday introduced in Norwich, Norfolk.

It doesn't monitor data connections though, so won't actually set the warning signs off if you're simply checking notifications or your phone's using a rare bit of 4G to update 53 apps you never use, and it won't shame drivers by capturing their number plates either - it only illuminates the no-mobiles roadside sign.

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

Although the signs can not tell whether a driver or passenger is using a handset it is hope they will help remind people of the dangers of using phones while driving.

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Chris Spinks, Specialist Product Sales, Westcotec "being a local company we're delighted to be able to trial this technology first within Norfolk, we've worked very closely with the road safety team at Norfolk County Council to get to this position and are glad that we're able to assist them in promoting awareness about the dangers of mobile phone use in the car".

"The system cannot differentiate between a driver and the passengers on a bus, for example, but this goes some way towards remotely warning drivers that they can be detected using their phone".

The technology can not record cars' registration or issue fines, but the data it collects will be shared with Norfolk police to set up potential future crackdowns.

"Any scheme which prevents this kind of behaviour is welcomed".

New roadside technology is being introduced to deter motorists from using mobile phones at the wheel, it will be announced today.

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