Using the phone while driving recorded by road signs? It sounds like futurology, but as it turns out, this idea has already become a reality. Drivers in Norfolk in the United Kingdom report that four signs are currently being tested there. Westcotec, responsible for putting the system on public roads, hopes that new devices will encourage drivers to change their behavior.
The system consists of two parts that depend on each other. The first is an antenna that receives various standards of mobile signal – from 2G, 3G, 4G to GPRS (General Packet Radio Service, or so-called packet data transmission in GSM networks). The second part is an LED display installed along the road. After the system detects a signal from the antenna set from the phone, a crossed-out cell sign appears on the screen. The image blinking in red reminds the drivers that they should focus on the road instead of using the internet, for example. As promised by the creators, the warning will be visible and will definitely stand out from the environment.
The system was created in 2014, but only now it has been introduced to public roads in Great Britain. The test in Norfolk started on July 10, and the results will be reviewed by Westcotec in collaboration with the Norfolk Road Safety Partnership – an organization that deals with road safety. Tests will be conducted for 16 weeks.
The idea met with a very warm reception. In a short time, there will be more such signs on British roads. In turn, industry organizations include from Slovenia, Belgium, Lithuania and the United States are also interested in implementing the system at home.
Instead of a punishment, a valuable lesson
It is worth noting, however, that the Westcotec system is not supposed to punish people, only educate and inform drivers about potential threats. At least for now, it will not be used to enforce fines or impose fines. Signs are also not equipped with cameras, so drivers do not have to worry about being recorded. The task of the system is to register the number of active mobile phones in cars that will go past the mark.
In fact, the system cannot determine who specifically uses the phone. Even if the passenger and not the driver will use the device, the sign will start to flash anyway. Therefore, the data collected for analysis may not be completely unreliable. However, Westcotec takes into account a margin of error in the measurements obtained.
Let us remind you that in Great Britain you can face high punishment for using a mobile phone while driving. In March 2017, the government there sharpened the rules on people who were calling or sending text messages. Drivers caught red-handed must reckon with a fine of 200 pounds and 6 penalty points. If the case is brought to court, there is a penalty of up to 2,500 pounds.