New Roadside Detection System Will Shame You into Putting Your Phone Down

Five people including three children have been killed after a stolen car crashed into a tree in Leeds

Five people including three children have been killed after a stolen car crashed into a tree in Leeds

This means those using Bluetooth for a hands-free connection, will not be warned by the sign, as if the scanner picks up a Bluetooth signal, it will disable the light.

Norfolk County Council's road safety team have worked with speed and warning sign specialists Westcotec on deploying the next-level signs, which are a first for United Kingdom roads.

Margaret Dewsbury Chairman of Communities Committee said "Using a mobile phone whilst driving is an enormous distraction and apart from being illegal puts the lives of the driver, passengers and pedestrians at risk".

Although the technology can not record specific number plates, data generated from the system, including the number of activations and the times of day they take place, will be shared with Norfolk police who might then use it to set up future crackdowns.

It is the first system of its kind to be used on roads in the United Kingdom and was developed by warning sign specialists Westcotec along with Norfolk County Council's road safety team.

"The aim of the technology is to remind drivers of the law and to get off their phones", Chris Spinks of Westcotec's Sales and Marketing team says in a press release.


Norfolk police have been particularly eager to crackdown on phone use at the wheel, with more than 120 people caught committing the offence during Operation Ringtone - which ran in the county in January.

If phone use is detected, a "no mobiles" image made of LEDs is lit up by the roadside.

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.

Using a mobile phone at the wheel now carries a punishment of six penalty points and a £200 fine, which was increased from three penalty points and a £100 fine a year ago. Norfolk County Council road safety team will be working closely with the roads policing team to share statistics provided by the detection system.

After an initial presence at Holt Road, the equipment will then spend a month at Cromer Road, Holt; Shipdham Road, Toftwood and Norwich Road, Attleborough.

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