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New weapon against drivers using mobile phones launched in Norfolk

10 July 2018

The new mobile phone detection system, which is launched today, is the first of its kind to be used on roads in the country and can identify mobile phone use from within a vehicle.

The technology picks up the phone signal in the vehicle and activates a roadside warning sign of a mobile with a red line through it.

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.

Norfolk county council is installing Westcotec's roadside detector on one of the bits of the A140 it oversees, and claims it can pick up the radio signals emitted when someone's connected to a call; using this to illuminate a warning-not-to sign farther down the road.

A roadside system that detects if a mobile phone is in use in a passing vehicle is being piloted in a United Kingdom first.

The signs are in place in four locations in Norfolk before being moved on to new sites within the county in a month's time.

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.

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

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".

Iain Temperton, team manager for road safety at the county council, described it as "cutting-edge technology" which would be used as an "educational tool" throughout Norfolk to try and tackle the problem.

New weapon against drivers using mobile phones launched in Norfolk