Road signs that know when a mobile phone is being used in a moving vehicle are being installed in Norfolk, in a bid to tackle usage behind the wheel.
The system can tell the difference between an active phone call and other activities based on the strength of a signal and how long it lasts. The system flashes up a red warning signal to drivers when it detects a call.
The technology cannot yet log number plates or be used to help catch offending drivers, but it is hoped it will act as a deterrent. Such a feature is being considered for development in the future.
Using a mobile phone at the wheel currently carries a punishment of six penalty points and a £200 fine, which was increased from three penalty points and a £100 fine last year.
Inspector Jonathan Chapman from Norfolk Roads Policing said: “This scheme is a good example of how we can work with local authorities to make using a mobile phone whilst driving as socially unacceptable as drink or drug-driving. Any scheme which prevents this kind of behaviour is welcomed. Using a mobile phone at the wheel is one of the fatal four road offences which can have devastating consequences if it causes a fatal or serious collision. 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.”