Drivers who break the law by using their phone at the wheel could face justice via a ‘stationary roadside vehicle’ that can detect when a handset is being held to the ear.
A trial run from National Highways and Warwickshire police is currently underway, with busted drivers facing prosecution, the Guardian reports. It’s also capable of catching people without seatbelts.
The cameras within the vehicles take images of passing motorists, which are then processed by AI. If you’re spotted, you’ll be subject to the same punishment as those caught by regular bobbies. British drivers currently receive a fine of £200 and six points on their licence if they’re caught using a phone while driving. If they passed within the last two years, then they lose the license.
Earlier this year, the government closed a legal loophole that allowed drivers to escape punishment when using devices for purposes other than communication. Now the AI bobbies are taking to the beat to enforce it.
“We are really excited to see the impact that this new technology has on the behaviour of drivers in Warwickshire,” Inspector Jem Mountford, of Warwickshire police said.
“During the trial the most serious breaches may be prosecuted, with others receiving warning letters, giving us the opportunity to explain how they have been caught and asking them to change their behaviour. Next time they may not be so lucky.”
If the three-month trial proves a success, the tech may be rolled out by other police forces in the United Kingdom. According to the government 420 accidents involved people using their phones while driving and the idea is to get those down to zero.
The head of roads policy at RAC, Nicholas Lyes, said: “For several years the RAC has been urging the government to explore how camera-based technology could reduce the scourge of drivers who put others at risk by using handheld phones while driving.”
In the future the cameras could be used to pick up tailgating offences, something we’d all enjoy a bit of relief from.