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Mobile phone-detecting road signs launched on United Kingdom highways

14 July 2018

It will do so by detecting cell phone use and lighting up a new LED road sign.

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.

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".

The new system will be used to identify mobile phone use from within a vehicle.

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The signs are able to detect digital signals being transmitted by a handset inside a vehicle, whether you're on a call, sending a text or just browsing online.

The sign is meant to act as a deterrent, by shaming perpetrators, but does not record footage or number plates.

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.

More signs are deployed to other towns across the country from next month.

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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.

Norfolk county council is installing Westcotec's roadside detector on one of the bits of the A140 it oversees, and claims it can pick up the radio signals emitted when someone's connected to a call; using this to illuminate a warning-not-to sign farther down the road.

Iain Temperton, team manager for road safety at the county council, described it as "cutting-edge technology" which would be used as an "educational tool" throughout Norfolk to try and tackle the problem.

"Any scheme which prevents this kind of behaviour is welcomed".

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"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", adds Jonathan Chapman, inspector of the Norfolk Roads Policing Unit.

Mobile phone-detecting road signs launched on United Kingdom highways