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New system detects drivers' mobile phone use in Norfolk

24 February 2015

Story from ACPO.

A new system that detects whether a mobile phone is being used in a vehicle is about to be rolled out across Norfolk following a successful trial.

Designed by the Norfolk-based safety sign specialist, Westcotec, the Mobile Phone Detection System (MPDS) is a portable system which identifies people using a mobile phone in a vehicle, whether they are on a call or receiving/sending a text message.

A roadside sensor monitors oncoming vehicles and sends information to the sign further along the road which flashes when mobile phone use has been detected in the vehicle.

Iain Temperton, Norfolk’s road safety manager, said, “We have been trialling the MPDS at a number of locations in Norfolk and it’s proved to be a flexible and extremely useful piece of equipment that we’re now ready to roll out across the county.

“The system can’t detect whether it’s a passenger using a phone in a vehicle or whether a hands-free device is being used. But of course, those people don’t need to be worried if they get a flash from the sign.

“But for those drivers who are on their mobiles, the system is a powerful, effective and very public reminder that they have been detected, and that they are putting those around them at real risk by doing so.”

The system is exclusive to Norfolk and has been welcomed by road safety groups in the county as an innovative way to get the message across to drivers that “using your mobile while driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviours”.

Chief inspector Chris Spinks, head of Norfolk and Suffolk roads policing, said, “I welcome any innovations in technology which can be used alongside traditional methods to improve safety on our roads.” 

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