Police are beginning to crack down on drivers who are using their phones illegally while driving with a new tech device which highlights dangerous culprits.
Hampshire and Thames Valley police forces are already using the new device to determine how many cars on a specific stretch of road are using their phones without being connected to hands-free kits. When the device, created by technology firm Westcotec, spots a phone being used, it will flash a mobile phone symbol at the vehicle to advise the driver to stop using their mobile phone.
The system created includes a sensor which will display an LED warning sign a short distance down the road when active 2G, 3G and 4G phone signals are detecting in a vehicle… As long as the sensor is activated within certain parameters, it will pick up that a driver is using a phone for calling, texting or data purposes and will activate the warning sign. The sign will show an illuminated mobile phone icon within a red circle with a line through it to produce a clear message to the law-breaking driver. If the device is connected to Bluetooth the sensor will not take any action.
A spokesperson for the two forces said: “The technology can detect when Bluetooth is being used but cannot detect if a passenger is using the phone. Instead, the sign will still be activated as a reminder to motorists of the distraction of a mobile phone while driving.”
The technology will allow police to identify hotspots where drivers are repeatedly using their phone and they will be able to take action.
A Supported Campaign
Research shows that a person is four times more likely to be involved in an accident if they are using a mobile phone while driving, reaction times are reduced by around 50 per cent. In comparison to drink driving, a person is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident when texting.
RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams said: “Driving and using a handheld phone do not mix; it is an incredibly dangerous and distracting combination.”
“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. While it will no doubt be argued that the technology cannot yet detect drivers that are using handheld phones illegally, we are aware of camera equipment being trialled in other countries which can.”
Aimee Goldsmith’s Story
Kate Goldsmith, who is supporting the campaign, lost her daughter Aimee after a lorry driver crashed into the car she was a passenger in. He was using his mobile phone to change the music while he was driving.
The eleven-year-old was killed alongside her stepbrothers, Josh and Ethan who were 11 and 13 respectively and her stepmother, Tracey.
Mrs Goldsmith said: “I am supporting this campaign and welcome any technology which can assist in educated people and stop them from using their mobile phones while driving. Aimee’s death was completely avoidable. Please don’t use your mobile phone while driving, it’s not worth the risk.”