Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Roadside technology will detect phones being used behind wheel

The technology detects when a phone is being used to make calls and cannot distinguish between drivers and passengers The technology detects when a phone is being used to make calls and cannot distinguish between drivers and passengersSPENCER PLATT GETTY IMAGES
Sandy Mccarthy | 11 July, 2018, 09:39

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.

Officials have worked with Dereham company Westcotec to develop the system which will flash a warning signal to drivers, similar to those for speeding, if a phone is being used in the auto.

Chris Spinks, of Westcotec the firm behind it and former head of roads policing in Norfolk, said: "So many people, by force of habit, can't resist using their phone".

For the first time sensors will be installed on British roads that can detect when a mobile phone is being used in a auto and present drivers with a warning sign.

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.

The authority says the equipment can detect the kind of signal a phone is picking up and whether it is being used through a Bluetooth system or through the handset.

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The signs have been set up in four locations around Norfolk and will be moved to new sites in a month.

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.

Although the signs are unable to log offending number plates, such a feature is being considered for development in the future.

Norfolk roads policing Inspector Jonathan Chapman said the scheme is "welcomed". There is also no facility for the signs to record footage. And a road safety spokesperson tells the BBC the signs may be enough to at least make drivers "think twice" before using their phone while driving.

These signs can detect when signals are being transmitted by a mobile telephone inside a auto, and then flashes a symbol of a mobile phone with a line through it to remind drivers not to use their handsets while behind the wheel.

"Whilst this is still not a flawless science, the new generation of sign is significantly more accurate and reliable than the first".

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