Posted: 7th April 2015
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WiRE Members Risk-taking drivers who use their mobile phones at the wheel are more likely than ever to be caught, thanks the successful trial of a new hi-tech detection system.
And Shropshire independent insurance broker, Henshalls, said it could have serious implications for your driving licence, or even the validity of your insurance cover.
The Mobile Phone Detection System identifies people using a mobile phone in a vehicle – whether they are making a call, receiving a call, or sending a text message.
A roadside sensor monitors oncoming vehicles and sends information to a sign, further along the road, which flashes when a mobile phone has been detected in use.
Dave Williams, a director of Henshalls which has offices in Newport and Shrewsbury, said: “It is currently being trialled in parts of the country as a deterrent rather than a device to catch offending drivers – a bit like flashing speed signs to slow down cars as they enter built-up areas.
“But if it proves successful, you can be sure that this will only be the start.
“Police will be keen to link it to a camera or number plate recognition system, to distinguish between drivers who are holding handsets, and those using perfectly legal hands-free kits.”
Dave said: “If they are involved in an accident, though, and there is evidence to prove that they were using their mobile phones illegally at the time, this could also nullify any insurance claims they might make.
“In a survey carried out across several UK sites last year, ‘white van man’ was found to be far more likely to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving than other road users.
“As many as 2.7 per cent of van drivers in England and Scotland were spotted using hand-held mobiles while behind the wheel in 2014.
“And the message is clear – Big Brother technology may soon be watching you, and you could end up paying a stiff penalty.
“Using a mobile while driving, even with a hands-free kit, is dangerous, and with new technology assisting in the detection of persistent risk-takers, more people may start to get the message.”