Mobile phone detectors to spot drivers using devices
Mobile phones are a primary source of distraction while behind the wheel, and despite it being illegal, 25% of UK drivers admit that they have used their phones while driving at some point in the last year.
According to the RAC, these figures haven’t changed significantly enough in the last year, which is why both Thames Valley and Hampshire police forces have brought in new technology.
Worldwide, it’s thought around a quarter of all car accidents are caused by texting while driving. Research in the US suggests that using a mobile phone can make you 23X times more likely to crash while the average braking reaction speed can reduce as much as 18%.
Studies also show that driving while using your phone can be likened to driving after having 4 beers, and you are around 6X more likely to cause an accident than being intoxicated.
To combat these damning stats, new technology is being rolled into place. Mobile detectors essentially detect any driver that is using their phone and flashes for them to stop using their mobile.
The detectors can only tell if a phone is being used in the vehicle, so it may pick up mobile phones used by passengers. That being said, the forces say that the technology will not be used to catch criminals and cannot record footage.
Instead, the idea is to help educate and inform drivers, reminding them of their responsibility as a road user. It’s also thought the detectors will help identify hotspots. Mobile detectors will be placed on the A34 in Oxfordshire and more detectors will be rolled out shortly afterwards.
How does it work?
The detectors use 2G, 3G and 4G signals to detect if somebody us using a phone to call, text or use mobile data. For people who use Bluetooth hands-free devices, the detectors can identify this and so will not flash.
There have been several notable cases where fatal accidents were caused by mobile phones in recent years. If successful, these detectors could become a regular feature of our roads and could help to reduce such cases.