Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

Road Signs Will Warn Drivers Who Are Using Their Phones


Inspector Jonathan Chapman of the roads policing unit in Norfolk, where the signs are being trialled, said: "Using a mobile phone at the wheel is one of the road offences that can have devastating consequences if it causes a fatal or serious collision".

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 vehicle.

However, Norfolk's Eastern Daily Press news site says the system does gather data about how often warnings are activated and when.

Westcotec, who are based in Dereham, Norfolk, are working with authorities across the world - including those in Argentina, Slovenia and New Zealand - to implement the mobile phone warning technology.

A new road sign that detects and warns drivers against using their mobile phone behind the wheel is being piloted in the United Kingdom from this week.

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. 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.

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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.

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

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

Using a mobile phone at the wheel now carries a punishment of six penalty points and a £200 fine, which was increased from three penalty points and a £100 fine a year ago.

After an initial presence at Holt Road, the equipment will then spend a month at Cromer Road, Holt; Shipdham Road, Toftwood and Norwich Road, Attleborough.

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