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Technology trial will catch Warwickshire drivers holding their phones





NEW technology capable of automatically detecting motorists who fail to wear a seatbelt or hold mobile phones at the wheel is being tested in Warwickshire.

Warwickshire Police and National Highways will be using a new van packed with detection equipment.

The van will be parked at the side of motorways and major A-roads in Warwickshire (58318507)
The van will be parked at the side of motorways and major A-roads in Warwickshire (58318507)

They said the van will be used on motorways and major A-roads as part of a research project to understand the scale of the problem around these motoring offences. Drivers caught by the new tech will be sent warning letters, informing them of the dangers of their actions.

The van is equipped with multiple cameras which can record footage of passing motorists. Images are processed using artificial intelligence (AI) to determine if motorists were using a handheld mobile phone and if drivers and passengers were not using a seat belt.

The van is also capable of being kitted with additional technology to detect tailgating offences, although this system does not form part of the Warwickshire test.

The vehicle, which will be stationary at the side of the road while in use, is being trialled over a period of almost three months.

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. 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.”

Inspector Jem Mountford of Warwickshire Police added: “We are really excited to see the impact that this new technology has on the behaviour of drivers in Warwickshire.

“Our officers deal with the tragic circumstances of collisions where often innocent people have been killed or seriously injured because a driver was distracted by a mobile phone or someone was not wearing a seatbelt. These collisions are preventable but we need all road users to do the right thing and comply with the law to make our roads safer.

“During the trial the most serious breaches may be prosecuted, with others receiving warning letters, giving us the opportunity to explain how they have been caught and asking them to change their behaviour. Next time they may not be so lucky.”



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