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New road signs can detect mobile phones are being used in vehicles

11 July 2018

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.

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

The technology can not record cars' registration or issue fines, but the data it collects will be shared with Norfolk police to set up potential future crackdowns.

Diane Steiner, deputy director of public health said: "Our priority in public health is to make Norfolk a healthy and safe place to live and the new technology enables us to provide a reminder to drivers who may be using their handset whilst driving". A study in 2016 found that nearly a third of motorists admitted to making phone calls, sending texts, posting on social media...

"It's a huge problem on our roads and drivers know there is no remote detection system".

Chris Spinks, Specialist Product Sales, Westcotec "being a local company we're delighted to be able to trial this technology first within Norfolk, we've worked very closely with the road safety team at Norfolk County Council to get to this position and are glad that we're able to assist them in promoting awareness about the dangers of mobile phone use in the car". It can detect when a phone is being used in a hands-free system or via Bluetooth, in which case the sign won't be triggered.

"The system cannot differentiate between a driver and the passengers on a bus, for example, but this goes some way towards remotely warning drivers that they can be detected using their phone".

Statistics from the devices will be shared with Norfolk Police, the county council said.

"Any scheme which prevents this kind of behaviour is welcomed". 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.

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.

New road signs can detect mobile phones are being used in vehicles