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New road sign launched in Norwich can detect drivers using a mobile phone behind wheel

PUBLISHED: 11:52 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 10 July 2018

Mobile phone detection sign in operation on Holt Road, Norwich. PIC: Submitted by Louise Banning, Norfolk County Council

Mobile phone detection sign in operation on Holt Road, Norwich. PIC: Submitted by Louise Banning, Norfolk County Council

Archant

A new sign which lights up when a motorist is using a mobile phone behind the wheel has been unveiled as the latest weapon in the war against danger drivers in Norfolk.

The new mobile phone detection system, which is launched today, is the first of its kind to be used on roads in the country and can identify mobile phone use from within a vehicle.

The sign, which for the next four weeks will be at Holt Road, Norwich, is able to identify what type of signal is being transmitted or received by the handset and whether it is being used via the vehicle’s Bluetooth system.

When the system indicates a mobile phone is being used within the vehicle, the road sign is activated as the vehicle passes, prompting the driver to stop using their phone.

Norfolk County Council’s Road Safety team have been working in partnership with Westcotec, a vehicle sign technology company, to develop the and deploy the new mobile phone detection system for use on the county’s roads.

Mobile phone detection sign in operation on Holt Road, Norwich. Photo: ArchantMobile phone detection sign in operation on Holt Road, Norwich. Photo: Archant

Although the technology cannot record specific number plates, data generated from the system, including the number of activations and the times of day they take place, will be shared with Norfolk police who might then use it to set up future crackdowns.

Iain Temperton, team manager for road safety at the county council, described it as “cutting-edge technology” which would be used as an “educational tool” throughout Norfolk to try and tackle the problem.

Inspector Jonathan Chapman from Norfolk Roads Policing unit said: “We will be using the information provided by Norfolk County Council’s road safety team to help us target drivers in the future but the message is simple – leave your phone alone whilst you’re behind the wheel.”

Chris Spinks, Specialist Product Sales, Westcotec “being a local company we’re delighted to be able to trial this technology first within Norfolk, we’ve worked very closely with the road safety team at Norfolk County Council to get to this position and are glad that we’re able to assist them in promoting awareness about the dangers of mobile phone use in the car”.

After an initial presence at Holt Road, the equipment will then spend a month at Cromer Road, Holt; Shipdham Road, Toftwood and Norwich Road, Attleborough.

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