A new mobile phone detection warning system has been launched which can identify vehicles in which a mobile phone is being used for calling, texting or data purposes.
Developed by the traffic safety systems company Westcotec and unveiled at the recent TISPOL road safety conference in Manchester, the system comprises a sensor capable of detecting vehicles where there are active 2G, 3G and 4G phone signals, and an LED warning sign located a short distance along the road.
When the sensor picks up that a phone is being used, it activates the warning sign which shows an illuminated mobile phone icon within a bright red circle and diagonal red line.
The technology can detect if a driver is using Bluetooth and will not trigger the warning sign in these circumstances.
However, the system ‘finds it hard to differentiate’ between users in the vehicle, and as a result some activations may be triggered by non-driving occupants.
Wescotec’s Chris Spinks says the ‘vast majority’ of activations will relate to drivers, and he ‘doesn’t see a problem when passengers activate the sign’, because it’s all part of the education process.
Chris Spinks said: “This device is purely about education, warning drivers and being able to identify when the driver was on the phone. It is the first such system to have a direct interaction with a mobile phone offender.
“We are not currently connecting the system with enforcement, but we plan to work towards that.
“This system is without doubt ahead of the game. The strength of vehicle-activated LED signs is that they identify the offender and only trigger when they’re necessary. The warning will be obvious and will stand out.
“The vast majority of activations will relate to drivers, and we don’t see a problem when passengers activate the sign. In fact, it’s all part of the education message that using a phone when driving is not only illegal but very dangerous.”
The system has been designed and developed with the assistance of Dr Helen Wells, a criminologist with a specific interest in road traffic offences and roads policing who is based at Keele University.
Westcotec says early interest has been ‘considerable’ and the first system is due to go live in Norfolk later this month, with several other UK police forces expressing an interest.
Category: Mobile phones.