Sci-tech

New tech to detect when drivers use phone at wheel

New tech to detect when drivers use phone at wheel

Select police forces will deploy a system that can detect if drivers are using their phone while driving.

New technology will be introduced by police forces in the United Kingdom in order to discourage drivers from using their mobile phones when on the road.

Matt Barber, deputy police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, told the BBC that the system was "not fool-proof", but said that the police needed to "make it as socially unacceptable to use your mobile whilst driving as it is to drink and drive".

Norfolk firm Westcotec's managing director Chris Spinks said: 'Our system is created to provide intelligence to police officers so that they can carry out enforcement activity in order to reduce the amount of people who are using mobile phones illegally on our roads.

The technology can detect if a driver is using Bluetooth, and will therefore not trigger the warning sign.

However, it can not tell whether the driver or a passenger is using the phone, so if a phone is being used anywhere in the auto and is not attached to a Bluetooth device it will flash regardless.

The technology will not be used as an "enforcement tool", the forces said, but was instead aimed at educating motorists and identifying offending "hotspots".

Kate Goldsmith's daughter was one of four people killed in the crash when lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was using his phone at the wheel in 2016.

Police detectors to warn mobile phone-using drivers

Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesperson, said: "Driving and using a handheld phone do not mix, it is an incredibly unsafe and distracting combination".

She said Aimee's death was "completely avoidable".

The forces say the two detectors, which cost £6,000 each, will be located on the A34 in Oxfordshire but will be posted at different locations throughout the Thames Valley and Hampshire to start - but more could be rolled out.

It follows a successful trial scheme in Norfolk that was announced in July 2018.

"It is vital that people take notice and stop using their mobile phones whilst driving", she added. Newly qualified drivers can also lose their licence if they're caught driving while using a mobile phone within two years of passing their test.

He ploughed into stationary traffic crushing a number of cars and killing Aimee, her stepbrothers Josh Houghton, aged 11, Ethan Houghton, aged 13, and the brother's mum Tracey Houghton, aged 45. The county has seen 40 incidents involving mobile phones where people have been killed or seriously injured. "Remember it's not worth the risk".

They are the first unit in the country to use the technology, designed by speed sign firm Westcotec.

"We will continue to develop new technologies so that we can help reduce people being injured and losing loved ones through the needless use of mobile phones whilst driving".

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