New phone signal detector could help police fine motorists on mobiles

Council launches crackdown on mobile phone drivers with signal detector

Updated: 
Drivers Face Added Penalties Using Mobile Phones

One local council is using a new signal detector system in a bid to deter motorists from using mobile phones while driving.

Norfolk County Council has joined forces with police and road safety group Think! to create the system, which took three months to build.

A flashing mobile phone sign will light up as a car drives past if a phone is being used for a call or to send a text.

New phone signal detector could help police fine motorists on mobiles

It is currently designed as a deterrent rather than to catch offending drivers, but the system could be developed into a camera and fine system.

Speaking to theDaily Telegraph, Iain Temperton, a casualty reduction officer at Norfolk County Council, said: "It's a testbed, and if a new version of the technology comes along or it can be linked to a camera or automatic number plate recognition system it's something we would look towards."

However, at the moment, the system is unable to distinguish between drivers, passengers and legal hands-free kits.

According to Norwich Evening News , the system is part of road safety group Think! Norfolk's "fatal four" activities, which are: not wearing a seat belt, drink-driving, speeding and using a handheld device at the wheel.

The message of the campaign is: "Why wouldn't you... drive sober? Belt up? Ignore it? Slow down?"

The phone detectors cost £4,500 each, and are currently being funded by motorists opting for speed awareness courses after brushes with the law.

Manufacturers Westcotec do not believe it will be long until they have the technology to tell if a driver is on hands-free or not.

Speaking to ITV News, Westcotec technical engineer Olly Samways said: "I think it will take five to ten years because technology is advancing so quickly at the moment.

"We've just got to keep our heads down and keep working at it. I think there's definitely a solution in the long run."

Police warn that if motorists are caught using a mobile phone at the wheel, they will receive a £60 fine and three points on their licence.

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