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New road signs can detect mobile usage

Sep 13, 2018

We are all (or should all be) well aware of the fact that using a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal. And if you are caught doing so, it can result in up to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. However, despite the tougher penalties which came into force in early 2017 there are still a significant number of people still being caught for the offence.

So, what more can be done to deter this behaviour? Behaviour which is thought by many to be one of the most dangerous things to do whilst driving.

One piece of technology being looked at is a road sign which can detect when a driver is using a mobile phone. By scanning for signals emitted when a phone call is being made the sign can pick up mobile phone usage. If the road sign picks up this signal it will flash up a picture of a mobile phone with a line through it. The aim of which is to warn and remind the driver that mobile phone use when driving is illegal.

Whilst the signs can differentiate between Bluetooth signal and mobile signal, allowing them to warn only drivers using a hand-held mobile device, not those using a Bluetooth hands free system, they do have limitations. They can’t tell if it is the driver or a passenger using the mobile, and as yet the signs have no way of recording the details of the vehicle. As a result, they will only be able to act as a deterrent given that no sanctions can be made if the signs do pick up mobile usage.

The first of the signs has recently gone live in Norwich, Norfolk with the hope being that they will be a deterrent to those using their mobile phone whilst driving as well as providing useful information about mobile use to the police force there.

Make sure you are aware of the rules

Drivers; now is a good time to refresh yourself on the rules regarding mobile phone usage and what is and isn’t deemed legal. The rules still apply for example if you are queuing or stopped in traffic. Likewise, if you are a fleet manager now may be a good time to review the policies you have in place to manage the use of mobile technology across your fleet and to ensure that these are being complied with.

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