Police Detectors Can Catch Drivers Using Mobile Phones

New technology being used to crack down on drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel

Drivers caught using a mobile phone while driving are now fined £200 and given six points on their licence.

When a driver is detected using a phone illegally by the technology, the device flashes the driver with a mobile phone signal as a warning. Hampshire and Thames Valley police forces are the first to use the new technology.

The system, developed by Westcotec, is able to detect when 2G, 3G or 4G signals are being sent out, specifically when a phone is being used, using a directional antenna.

This will happen in a similar vein to how digital road signs in crash hotspots flash to tell drivers to slow down.

Bluetooth hands-free devices will trigger the system, but the sign won't flash.

However, researchers admit that they can't - yet - distinguish between a passenger being on the phone and a driver. It can also enable the police forces to identify hotspots for mobile phone usage.

As long as the activation meets certain pre-determined parameters, the sensor will pick up that a driver is using a phone for calling, text or data purposes and will activate the warning sign.

"My daughter's death was completely avoidable".

'In the Thames Valley since 2014 there have been 83 people killed or seriously injured as a result of drivers using their mobile phones and 40 have been killed or seriously injured Hampshire. They will then be moved between different locations throughout the Thames Valley and Hampshire.

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It follows a successful trial scheme in Norfolk that was announced in July 2018.

Rule breakers will get an automatic fixed penalty notice and penalty points on their license, as well as a fine of £200.

When a driver is detected to be using their phone, a flashing smartphone symbol will appear on a device used by the police, advising people to stop using their devices.

In the collision, Aimee's stepbrothers Josh Houghton, 11, Ethan Houghton, 13 and their mum Tracey Houghton, 45, also died.

"The Joint Operations Unit will continue to educate people of the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving through our "It's Not Worth The Risk" campaign and reduce the devastating impact it can have on people's lives".

A spokesman for Hampshire and Thames Valley police said: 'The technology can detect when Bluetooth is being used but cannot detect if a passenger is using the phone.

'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, ' said PC Liz Johnson, a roads safety officer.

"Driving and using a handheld phone do not mix, it is an incredibly unsafe and distracting combination", spokesman Pete Williams said.

"We have made the Department for Transport aware of this".

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