UK introduces new road signs to detect and warn drivers using mobile

Norfolk County Council road safety team have launched a new roadside mobile phone detection system today in partnership with @Westcotec_Ltd #fatalfour #norfolk read about it here @EDP24 https://t.co/h6Ies6JTFd pic.twitter.com/kX5ir7Iuht— Norfolk County Council (@NorfolkCC) July 10, 2018 They are hoped to be used as a deterrent, as the signs cannot yet record cars’ registration or issue fines. The signs also cannot tell whether a driver or passenger is using the handset. The UK’s first road signs which will electronically detect and warn drivers who are using mobile phones have been introduced. These signs can detect when signals are being transmitted by a mobile telephone inside a car, and then flashes a symbol of a mobile phone with a line through it to remind drivers not to use their handsets while behind the wheel.The road signs work by using a scanner to detect the radio signals emitted when someone in the car is connected to a call, with this data used to illuminate a sign further down the road.The scanner can pick up both mobile phone radio signals and Bluetooth signals, and differentiates between the two. 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. However, they do not monitor data connections, meaning those using internet services on their phones will not be detected.The first of three £6,000 electronic signs was yesterday introduced in Norwich, Norfolk. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. 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.Mr Spinks said: “Being a local company we’re delighted to be able to trial this technology first in Norfolk.”We are glad to assist Norfolk County Council in promoting awareness about the dangers of mobile phone use in the car.”“The aim of the technology is to remind drivers of the law and to get off their phones.” A police operation in Norfolk in January discovered 120 people committing the offence. Jonathan Chapman, inspector of the Norfolk Roads Policing Unit said: “We will be using the information to help us target drivers in the future but the message is simple – leave your phone alone whilst you’re behind the wheel.”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.” However, the data will be shared with Norfolk police to set up potential future crackdowns.Those caught using their mobile phones at the wheel by police face a £200 fine and six points on their license, after tougher sanctions were introduced last year.The new technology powering the signs was developed by Norfolk County Council’s Road Safety team in partnership with vehicle sign technology local company Westcotec.Iain Temperton, team manager for road safety at the county council, described the technology as “cutting-edge” and said it would be used an “educational tool” throughout Norfolk to tackle the problem.The Norfolk-based company is also working with police forces in New Zealand, Argentinia and Slovenia to implement similar mobile phone warning technology. read more

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