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Roadside system detects phone use in cars, activates warning sign

11 July, 2018, 00:23 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Driving stock

The authority says the equipment can detect the kind of signal a phone is picking up and whether it is being used through a Bluetooth system or through the handset.

The road signs work by using a scanner to detect the radio signals emitted when someone in the vehicle is connected to a call, with this data used to illuminate a sign further down the road.

The system is able to simultaneously detect bluetooth signals so that anyone legally in a call via their car's speakers is not wrongly issued a warning.

The first of three £6,000 electronic signs was yesterday introduced in Norwich, Norfolk.

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.

Officials have worked with Dereham company Westcotec to develop the system which will flash a warning signal to drivers, similar to those for speeding, if a phone is being used in the vehicle. It was claimed that the technology, which is initially being introduced in Norfolk, could be adapted as part of a system to catch and fine motorists, although this is not possible at present.


"It's a huge problem on our roads and drivers know there is no remote detection system".

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 signs have been set up in four locations around Norfolk and will be moved to new sites in a month.

The council said that enabling the system to record specific number plates could be a "future development" with it.

Jonathan Chapman, inspector of the Norfolk Roads Policing Unit said: "We will be using the information to help us target drivers in the future but the message is simple - leave your phone alone whilst you're behind the wheel".

Statistics from the devices will be shared with Norfolk Police, the county council said.

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