April 16, 2019

Police detectors to warn drivers using mobile phones

The Hampshire and Thames Valley forces will begin to use mobile phone detectors to find individuals who are using the devices while driving.

A sign will flash at the side of the road to warn drivers to stop using their mobile devices. However, the detectors will not be able to determine if it is a passenger or the driver who is using the phone.

The Hampshire Constabulary and the Thames Valley Police have collaborated with Westcotec Ltd to develop the technology.

The system, which was first tested in Norfolk in July 2018, does not have the ability to record footage.

The detector recognises 2G, 3G and 4G signals from mobile phones and displays a representation of a mobile phone with a diagonal line through it, warning people not to use mobile devices while driving.

The detector can determine if individuals are using hands-free Bluetooth devices and will not flash a warning in those cases.

Since the technology cannot determine whether a passenger or the vehicle’s driver is using a mobile device, the sign will flash regardless of which person is using a hand-held mobile device.

The forces plan to deploy two detectors at a cost of £6,000 each. They both will be placed on the A34 in Oxfordshire in two different places in Hampshire and the Thames Valley, and additional detectors may be deployed in the future.

Currently, drivers who are caught using their mobile devices while behind the wheel receive a fine of £200 and six points added on their licence.