Roadside system detects phone use in cars, activates warning sign

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

Chris Spinks, Specialist Product Sales, Westcotec "being a local company we're delighted to be able to trial this technology first within Norfolk, we've worked very closely with the road safety team at Norfolk County Council to get to this position and are glad that we're able to assist them in promoting awareness about the dangers of mobile phone use in the car".

The system, which can tell the difference between active phone calls and other activities based on the strength of a signal and how long it lasts, flashes up a red warning signal to drivers when it detects a call.

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.

These signs can detect when signals are being transmitted by a mobile telephone inside a vehicle, 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 technology can not yet log number plates or be used to help catch offending drivers, but it is hoped it will act as a deterrent.

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The system will initially be used at sites in Attleborough, Holt, Norwich and Toftwood.

"Hopefully, as time goes on it will become as socially unacceptable as drink driving".

Diane Steiner, the authority's deputy director of public health, said: "Our priority is to make Norfolk a healthy and safe place to live and the new technology enables us to provide a reminder to drivers who may be using their handset whilst driving".

"Any scheme which prevents this kind of behaviour is welcomed".

Despite being unable to pick up whether the driver is using the phone, it is hoped it will act as a deterrent to people making calls behind the wheel.

New roadside technology is being introduced to deter motorists from using mobile phones at the wheel, it will be announced today.

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