Driver warning as new technology launched to catch you using your phone behind the wheel – but it’s not all bad news | The Sun

MOTORISTS have been warned about new technology that can automatically detect if a driver is using their mobile while behind the wheel.

The new van, which is currently being trialled in partnership with Warwickshire Police, can also tell if someone is wearing their seatbelt.

The van contains detection equipment is being used to help identify motorists driving dangerously and is hoped it will help boost road safety.

It has already been out and about on motorways and major A-roads across England.

The research project is hoping to get a better understanding of the scale of the problem involving dangerous motoring offences, with the vehicle sitting stationary at the side of the road while in use.

The “sensor test vehicle” is fitted with multiple cameras which can record footage of passing motorists.

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Images taken by the cameras are then processed using artificial intelligence (AI) to determine if motorists were using handheld mobile phones or if drivers and passengers were without a seatbelt.

Drivers who are spotted on their phones or travelling without wearing a seatbelt will be sent warning letters in partnership with the police force, telling them about the dangers of their actions.

The warning letters, issued by the police, will also remind drivers they could be fined up to £500 for not wearing a seatbelt, as well as receiving penalty points.

In addition, drivers will also be asked to complete a short survey which will be used to inform the research being carried out by National Highways.

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The van is initially set to be trialled for three months, with findings set to inform the next steps and any future deployment, with the possibility of them being upgraded with additional technology to detect tailgating offences.

National Highways Head of Road Safety Jeremy Phillips said: “Safety remains our top priority and we want everyone to get to their destination safely.

“Sadly, there are still drivers who do not feel the need to wear a seatbelt, become distracted by their phones or travel too close to the vehicle in front.

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"We want to see if we can change driver behaviour and therefore improve road safety for everyone. Our advice is clear; please leave enough space, buckle up and give the road your full attention.”

RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes added: "We’re extremely pleased to see National Highways and Warwickshire Police working together on this, and very much hope other police forces follow suit in a bid to make our roads safer.”

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