Trial starts of technology which aims to catch drivers on the phone

A roadside system that detects if a mobile phone is in use in a passing vehicle is being piloted in a United Kingdom first. It doesn't monitor data connections though, so won't actually set the warning signs off if you're simply checking notifications or your phone's using a rare bit of 4G to update 53 apps you never use, and it won't shame drivers by capturing their number plates either - it only illuminates the no-mobiles roadside sign.

The sign, which for the next four weeks will be at Holt Road, Norwich, is able to identify what type of signal is being transmitted or received by the handset and whether it is being used via the vehicle's Bluetooth system.

Chris Spinks, of Westcotec the firm behind it and former head of roads policing in Norfolk, said: "So many people, by force of habit, can't resist using their phone".

The move comes amid increasing concerns over the risks posed by drivers using mobile phones at the wheel.

Being initially tested in Norfolk, the system can not record footage.

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"The system cannot differentiate between a driver and the passengers on a bus, for example, but this goes some way towards remotely warning drivers that they can be detected using their phone".

The system, which is thought to be the first of its kind in the country, is being trialled at four sites in Norfolk from today.

Iain Temperton, team manager for road safety at the county council, described it as "cutting-edge technology" which would be used as an "educational tool" throughout Norfolk to try and tackle the problem.

Council leaders and police have unveiled a new weapon in the fight to stop drivers using mobile phones when they're behind the wheel.

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