Thursday, 18 October, 2018

New weapon against drivers using mobile phones launched in Norfolk

Emmett Howard | 14 July, 2018, 11:57

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.

Although the signs can't tell whether a driver or passenger is using a handset, it is hoped they will act as a reminder of the dangers of using phones while driving. The signs do not record vehicle registrations or take photos that could lead to fines.

The first sign which detects if drivers are using a mobile phone whilst driving and then flash up a warning has been installed in Norfolk.

The Council's Road Safety Team and local company Westcotec have worked together to develop and deploy the system.

Chris Spinks, of Westcotec's Sales and Marketing team, said he hoped it could provide police with a general view of where illegal use is most prevalent.

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Those caught using their mobile phones at the wheel by the police in the United Kingdom face a £200 fine and six points on their licence, following the introduction of tougher laws previous year.

The system is able to simultaneously detect bluetooth signals so that anyone legally in a call via their car's speakers is not wrongly issued a warning.

But they could allow police to find out where phones are being used most - perhaps in congestion hotspots - and carry out crackdowns in those areas.

"We are glad to assist Norfolk County Council in promoting awareness about the dangers of mobile phone use in the auto". "It is the first such system to have a direct interaction with a mobile phone offender".

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. 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. Norfolk County Council road safety team will be working closely with the roads policing team to share statistics provided by the detection system.

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