Driving whilst using a mobile phone is a legal offence. It causes so many accidents and can be a huge distraction. Hands free technology and the increased popularity of smart phones to support it, has meant drivers can make calls using their controls in the car, instead of looking down at the screen of their phone. Unfortunately, not all cars have this, and using phones whilst driving is still common practice, hence the development of these new signs to detect it.
Andrew Brady, Motoring Research, reports:
New technology that detects when a driver is using their phone is being introduced in Sussex.
The ‘vehicle activated sign’ is triggered when a motorist approaches it while using their mobile phone. It then flashes, warning the driver to put their phone down.
But, unlike speed cameras, the sign won’t be capable of recording vehicle details, so it’s unlikely to lead to any prosecutions.
It’s been illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving in the UK since 2003. Many people continue to flout the ban, however, risking a fine of £100 and three points on their licence.
The new signs are being trialled in Sussex, where 1,800 drivers were caught using their phones while driving in 2014.
Funded by Sussex Safer Roads Partnership for use by Brighton and Hove City Council, the new technology is set to be rolled out across the county if the trial proves to be successful.
While the technology is unlikely to lead to prosecutions to begin with, it could result in speed camera-like devices cutting down on mobile phone use at the wheel in the future.
The best way to combat this problem is perhaps through education – making errant drivers aware of the potential consequences of you are using your phone whilst driving. It not only puts your passengers in danger, but other road users and even potentially pedestrians. Hopefully these new road signs will encourage people to ‘steer clear’ of using their phone while driving.