Police can now see if you’re on your phone while driving

Police have introduced a new device which spots drivers using mobile phones

Police are cracking down on drivers who illegally use their mobile phones with a new device that detects the unsafe behaviour.

The new technology will be able to determine when a motorist is using a phone without a hands-free device and who many drivers on a stretch of road are ignoring the rules.

This will see officers use a bus to travel around locations in the Thames Valley and Hampshire to spot motorists breaking the law and using mobile phones.

When a driver is detected to be using their phone, a flashing smartphone symbol will appear on a device used by the police, advising people to stop using their devices.

This will happen in a similar vein to how digital road signs in crash hotspots flash to tell drivers to slow down.

It can also recognise when a hands-free Bluetooth device is being used instead, and will not flash the driver.

However, as it tracks 2G, 3G and 4G signals rather than visual confirmation, the detection device won't be able to distinguish between the driver or a passenger. The systems being moved around constituencies should allow the forces to build a map of where people using their phone at the wheel is an issue.

The campaign is being supported by Kate Goldsmith, who lost her daughter Aimee after a lorry driver crashed into the auto she was a passenger in while he was using his mobile phone to change music while driving.

She said Aimee's death was "completely avoidable".

'It is vital that people take notice and stop using their mobile phones whilst driving'.

A detector will be put on the A34 in Oxfordshire and other undisclosed parts of the Thames Valley and Hampshire.

It follows a successful trial scheme in Norfolk that was announced in July 2018.

The current penalty for being caught using a mobile phone while driving is a £200 fine and six points on your licence.

'It is also apparent that you are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision when texting compared with drink driving.

Kroker killed Aimee, her stepbrothers Ethan Houghton, 13, Joshua, 11, and their mother Tracy, 45, when he ploughed into stationary traffic at 50mph on 10 August 2016.

They are the first unit in the country to use the technology, designed by speed sign firm Westcotec. A statement by local authorities that says: "we can see you", to drivers using their phone behind the wheel.

"Additionally, officers will be carrying out enforcement activity throughout next week. Remember it's not worth the risk".

Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary have developed the technology with Westcotec Ltd.

"We will continue to develop new technologies so that we can help reduce people being injured and losing loved ones through the needless use of mobile phones whilst driving".

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