Road signs can detect when mobiles are used at the wheel

Donna Miller
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.

The technology was developed by Norfolk County Council's Road Safety team and vehicle sign technology company Westcotec.

People using their phones while driving will be getting warning messages if they do so in Norfolk.

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. Though the signs won't record any footage, meaning no fines will be issued based on the data they collect, the data will be shared with police to arrange possible crackdowns in the future in the areas where cellphone use is most prevalent.

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 previous year.

He said: 'The aim of the technology is to remind drivers of the law and to get off their phones'. A year ago in an effort to further discourage driving while on the phone, fines and penalty points increased.

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Officials admit that it can not detect whether a driver or their passenger is using a phone and the warning sign may therefore flash even if no offence is being committed.

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".

"Using a 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 trial itself is taking place in Norfolk.

Road signs that can detect when a mobile phone is being used in a moving vehicle are being installed in Norfolk.

After its launch on Holt Road, Norwich, the equipment will then move on to Cromer Road in Holt, Shipdham Road in Toftwood and Norwich Road in Attleborough.

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