New tech to detect when drivers use phone at wheel

New tech to detect when drivers use phone at wheel

Scheme from Thames Valley and Hampshire police forces is supported by victims of mobile phone-using drivers.

Police have revealed a new detection system that can see when motorists are using mobile phones while behind the wheel.

Hampshire and Thames Valley forces have announced that they will be the first to implement the technology on the roads, which will be able to see which vehicles aren’t using hands-free systems to interact with their devices.

mobile phone driving

Created by Westcotec, the detection device will flash a mobile phone symbol at offending drivers, telling them to stop using their phone – with police then able to identify the hotspots for mobile phone usage.

However, as it tracks 2G, 3G and 4G signals rather than visual confirmation, the detection device won’t be able to distinguish between the driver or a passenger.

This new campaign, which was trialled in Norfolk last year, has been supported by bereaved families, such as Kate Goldsmith, who last her 11-year-old daughter, Aimee, due to a lorry driver crashing into the car she was passenger in while changing music on his phone.

Ms Goldsmith said: “I am supporting this campaign and welcome any technology which can assist in educating people and stop them from using their mobile phones whilst driving.

mobile phone driving

“My daughter’s death was completely avoidable. Please don’t use your mobile phone whilst driving, it’s not worth the risk.”

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

“We welcome this technology as it will hopefully make drivers think about what they are doing behind the wheel, and encourage some to put down their phones and concentrate fully on driving.

“While it will no doubt be argued that the technology cannot yet definitively detect drivers that are using handheld phones illegally, we are aware of camera equipment being trialled in other countries which can.”

Two Westcotec devices will be installed on the A34 in Oxfordshire first, before being rolled out across both the Hampshire and Thames Valley jurisdictions.

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