Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

Roadside system detects phone use in cars, activates warning sign


Norfolk County Council's Road Safety team have been working in partnership with Westcotec, a vehicle sign technology company, to develop the and deploy the new mobile phone detection system for use on the county's roads.

"Using a mobile phone at the wheel is one of the fatal four road offences which can have devastating consequences if it causes a fatal or serious collision".

The roadside system, which is being piloted in Norfolk, picks up the signal in the vehicle and activates a warning sign of a phone with a red line through it, the BBC reports.

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". This means those using Bluetooth for a hands-free connection, will not be warned by the sign, as if the scanner picks up a Bluetooth signal, it will disable the light.

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.

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Inspector Jonathan Chapman, of the Norfolk roads policing unit, added: "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 can't tell whether the driver or a passenger is using the phone, but authorities hope it will give drivers a reminder of safety concerns.

The system, which is thought to be the first of its kind in the country, is being trialled at four sites in Norfolk from today.

Being initially tested in Norfolk, the system can not record footage.

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