Road signs that sense when you’re using your phone tested in Norfolk

The UK's first road signs which will electronically detect and warn drivers who are using mobile phones have been introduced.

The signs, which have initially been installed in the county of Norfolk, work by scanning for phone signals as vehicles pass. It's hoped that the warnings will deter drivers from using phones-they could decide it's not worth the risk of being caught.

"We are delighted to have been able to partner with Westcotec to trial this new technology across Norfolk".

The system, which can tell the difference between active phone calls and other activities based on the strength of a signal and how long it lasts, flashes up a red warning signal to drivers when it detects a call.

"The aim of the technology is to remind drivers of the law and to get off their phones", Chris Spinks of Westcotec's Sales and Marketing team says in a press release.

"Whilst this is still not a flawless science, the new generation of sign is significantly more accurate and reliable than the first".

The new system will be used to identify mobile phone use from within a vehicle.

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There is no facility to record specific number plates at this time, although this is likely to be a future development.

The road signs work by using a scanner to detect the radio signals emitted when someone in the auto is connected to a call, with this data used to illuminate a sign further down the road.

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

Norfolk roads policing Inspector Jonathan Chapman said the scheme is "welcomed".

"We will be using the information provided by Norfolk County Council's road safety team to help us target drivers in the future", he added. "Using a phone at the wheel is one of the fatal four road offenses which can have devastating consequences if it causes a fatal or serious collision".

Council leaders and police have unveiled a new weapon in the fight to stop drivers using mobile phones when they're behind the wheel.

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