New roadsigns that warn against the dangers of using mobile phones at the wheel are being trialled in the UK.
The pilot scheme can detect if someone in a passing car is using a phone, and flash up a warning sign to alert them to the dangers.
It can’t determine whether the driver is using the phone. But it’s hoped it will act as a deterrent nevertheless.
It can, however, tell whether a phone is being used hands-free or via a vehicle’s Bluetooth system. If it detects either of these, it won’t trigger the sign.
The system, being trialled in Norfolk, is aimed at helping drivers to change their behaviour.
“So many people, by force of habit, can’t resist using their phone,” said Chris Spinks of Westcotec, the firm behind the initiative.
“The system cannot differentiate between a driver and a passenger on a bus, for example, but this goes some way towards remotely warning drivers that they can be detected using their phone.”
Peter Williams, from the RAC, added that he hoped it would encourage drivers to take more care when behind the wheel.
“While this new signage is no replacement for a uniformed police officer catching someone in the act, it could be enough to make some drivers think twice – and that has to be a positive step forward,” he said.
“So ironically, just as technology has enabled the problem of drivers using mobile phones illegally, it can also be a big part of the solution in getting people to stop.”