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News & Features

Roadside Mobile Phone Detection System

Posted in General News on Monday, July 16th, 2018

New road signs which have the capability to sense when someone is using their mobile phone while driving and display a mobile phone accordingly are being tested in Norwich. The signs can detect when digital signals are being transmitted by a handset inside the vehicle if the phone is being used to send a text, make a call or browse the internet. At the moment these signs are only being tested in Norwich, but the company is in communication with a number of other cities around the world, so if they prove successful these signs could become a common feature on the roads. The downside to this technology is that it is not currently able to detect whether it is the driver of the car or a passenger that is using a mobile phone. However, Westcotec, the firm behind the signs, is hopeful that they will play a considerable part in curbing illegal mobile phone use. The data collected by these signs can also be shared with police forces to aid future crackdowns on the issue. Norfolk Police have been particularly active in their efforts to stamp out this practice, recently catching more than 120 offenders during Operation Ringtone, the county’s crackdown on illegal mobile phone use which took place in January. Jonathan Chapman, Inspector of the Norfolk Roads Policing Unit, commented: “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.”

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Psul Walker's Gravatar
Psul Walker

Monday, July, 16th, 2018

Yet another prime example of "Big Brother's Watching You", as though motorists don't have enough to contend with already. No doubt it will bring cheers of delight to all the lot out there who hate cars & motorists en masse - and NO DOUBT will ultimately be used to screw even more money out of the motorist under the well worn & extremely tired "banner" of road safety & acting responsibly - just like all the middle of the road traffic 'furniture' designed to reduce traffic to a crawl, & 20mph limits which have proved nothing. Yet again the motoring "cash-cow" bites the bullet ! When are we ALL going to have had enough and do something about it ? JOIN THE ABD. Paul Walker.

David Smith's Gravatar
David Smith

Monday, July, 16th, 2018

This appears to be a very good idea but as stated the system cannot detect who is using the mobile. Therefore I see no value in using it. The authorities will not be able to prosecute and I doubt if hardened offenders will take any notice simply because there can be no legal follow up.

Yann's Gravatar
Yann

Monday, July, 16th, 2018

This is good news in theory. However I use a legal hands free mobile system which came with the car. Wlll this system also detect my phone use?

Heather Bradshaw's Gravatar
Heather Bradshaw

Monday, July, 16th, 2018

Does this mean that even using a handsfree handset would mean you could be stopped and penalised? MoT newer vehicles have Bluetooth capability and I do occasionally take a call on my handsfree. I find it disturbing that I could be stopped and questioned even over legitimate use involving no touch of the phone at all. Also I use my phone for a Satnav: will these new detection devices recognise that this is a different usage?

Gavin Lucas's Gravatar
Gavin Lucas

Monday, July, 16th, 2018

While the sentiment is valid the practicalities are not. 1) - My wife is disabled and cannot drive and may using her mobile phone. 2) - She may have left her mobile at home and is using mine. 3) - I may be receiving a call via bluetooth hands free. 4) - The technology cannot determine the circumstances of the call just that there is a signal being emanated from the vehicle. 5) - It's back to the old adage "Guilty until proven innocent" - the opposite of how the law should operate.