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Mobile phone detection signs to roll out in Norfolk

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Signs that can detect the use of a mobile phone in a vehicle are to be rolled out in Norfolk, following a successful trial.

Designed by safety sign firm Westcotec, the Mobile Phone Detection System (MPDS) is a portable sign that identifies people using a mobile phone in a vehicle, whether they are making a call or receiving/sending a text message, according to Road Safety GB.

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

Iain Temperton, 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."

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, from 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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  • Tony Attwood - 17/02/2015 10:59

    About time mobile phone users (non hands free) were targeted properly and efficiently. The use of phones in cars seems to be increasing and especially Smart phones and ?texting. We actually need a blitz on this danger

  • Trevor Neal - 17/02/2015 11:24

    Why not connect it to a camera so the driver can be prosecuted. Might deter them

    • Peter - 22/03/2015 18:53

      @Trevor Neal - because you can't tell whether its the driver's phone or the passengers phone?

  • paultownsend9477 - 17/02/2015 12:26

    "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" Why will they be worried, as surely they are already aware of the penalities for using a phone whilst driving in the, it appears, unlikley event they are caught? Why should the innocent motorist/passenger have to be have needless warning lights being flashed at them?

  • AJB - 17/02/2015 12:33

    Pointless - so hands free and passengers will trigger the 'flash' too. File this with TV detector vans.

  • Billy Lambert - 17/02/2015 12:48


  • kevin s - 17/02/2015 13:01

    they won't connect it ot a camera because then they will have to pay someone to look at the camera to see who is using the phone, and therefore cant't use it as a revenue generation scheme like most speed cameras.

  • Zunaid Dessai - 17/02/2015 13:04

    This is frankly a waste of time. It detects when you are sending or receiving texts or if you are on a call....So basically it detects that your mobile and your passengers' are 'switched on' and functioning well. Then you receive a flash that completely startles you to the effect that you lose concentration from driving. Other road users also get startled and potential chaos ensues. Every driver is now aware that mobiles are not to be used while driving yet hands free kits have made it easier to conduct business especially to and from assignments. I'm afraid the sign must show an actual use rather than be an irritant. Stop wasting money on pointless inventions. If you are to clutter up motorway verges, please build more rest stops with car charging points for those that require it.

  • Jim - 17/02/2015 13:06

    A flashing distraction to tell you that one of your passengers is using their phone... genius! Next there will be a loud klaxon to tell you that you have your car stereo on, so might not hear the approaching gallop of a startled deer.

  • Mike Butcher - 17/02/2015 13:23

    If the use of the mobile can't be identified as illegal, I really can't see the point of this? What a waste of time and money!

  • Sage & onion - 17/02/2015 13:23

    A recipe for tarring innocent drivers who's passengers are "caught" legally using their phone. How long will it be before we see YouTube videos of innocent drivers, and Companies, being vilified? A total waste of time and money and Chief Inspector Spinks should know better than to support "innovation" that goes against the core principle of law where guilt has to be proven.

  • Reg Willcox - 17/02/2015 13:50

    Cheaper than putting more Police on patrol but not as effective. Dancing around the problem as usual

  • Lee Trundle - 17/02/2015 14:10

    seems a bit pointless really. anyone using their phone probably wouldn't notice anyway if it's as much of a distraction as research suggests.

    • Sage & Oinion - 17/02/2015 14:18

      @Lee Trundle - excellent point!

  • Mark Lindsey - 17/02/2015 14:23

    Does that mean that you can now get a mobile signal in Norfolk

  • Peter Curnow-Ford - 17/02/2015 14:27

    .... and what about all those connected cars, eg Mini's, BMW's, Audi and Mercedes let alone Ford's etc that all now have a SIM in the dashboard and thus a 2G/3G radio - they will all be detected as well if on a call or sending/receiving data? The only reason this is an idea is for Westotec to sell them, I would have hoped better from the police in their understanding of what goes in a car - EU law stipulates/or will stipulate that all cars are fitted with a SIM and service agreement to connect to a mobile network when the car has an accident. Further what about all those vans/lorries with Telematics fitted that may well be sending position info over a 3G network - they will all cause the sign to flash.

    • Sage & Oinion - 17/02/2015 14:47

      @Peter Curno w-Ford - More excellent points. 3G cameras too !

  • Mr Warwick - 17/02/2015 21:27

    What is the point if the signs don't detect that your using your phone on blue tooth or using it hands free - both legal. I can understand if you were holding the phone, but I'm sure the sign is not that clever! So that's what the council tax goes on. Who ever suggested this should be sacked - I guess they don't even drive a car.

  • Howard Cooke - 18/02/2015 20:33

    Good idea - its use should be encouraged

  • Legs11 - 19/02/2015 13:50

    This is about mobile phones. Does it also pick up the use of sat nav systems? I think the signs will very quickly be ignored when drivers realise there is no penalty attached to them, in a similar way that the flashing speed signs in built up areas or on the motorways ignored by most drivers.

  • Gary Cullen - 20/03/2015 14:53

    Sounds good but why can't it take a picture of the driver and when it has been identified that the driver had one hand on the phone then a follow up letter could be sent and points issued. Most people still use mobiles as they think they can get away with it, where the penalties should be harsher to deter use whilst driving

  • Michael Rosen - 14/08/2015 02:15

    www.mrmichaelrosen.com Patents and developments Michael Rosen 3308369999

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