Police using new AI cameras to catch drivers using their phones – 'you will get caught'

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The technology, which can also detect whether drivers are wearing a seat belt, is being rolled out on select routes across the two counties over the next two months. The trial is being funded by the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership and overseen by Devon and Cornwall Police.

It is being done in an effort to deter drivers from distractions which can result in serious and fatal collisions.

The Acusensus system is housed in a vehicle equipped with multiple cameras that records footage of passing motorists.

Images captured by the cameras are processed using artificial intelligence (AI) to determine if motorists were using a handheld mobile phone or if drivers and passengers were without a seat belt.

The technology can also determine the speed at which a vehicle was travelling at the time.

READ MORE: Elderly drivers hit out at maximum driving age proposals

The new rules were introduced to close a loophole previously exploited by dangerous drivers to escape conviction.

Motorists found to be using their mobile phone at the wheel may be hit with six penalty points and a £200 fine.

If someone has passed their test within the last two years, they will have their licence taken away from them.

In some cases, the situation may be taken to court in which case they could be banned from driving or riding, as well as a maximum fine of £1,000, which rises to £2,500 if they’re driving a bus or lorry.

Drivers are able to use a handheld device if they need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

They are also permitted to use it if they are safely parked or making a contactless payment in a vehicle which is not moving, such as at a drive-through.

In 2020 a national road safety survey was commissioned by Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and then-APCC lead for road safety.

Of the 66,000 people who responded, 55 percent said they witnessed road traffic offences such as using a mobile phone or not wearing a seat belt on a daily basis, with 21 percent saying they witnessed them on a weekly basis.

Furthermore, 81 percent of respondents agreed that road traffic offences required more enforcement.

Commissioner Hernandez, who is also chairman of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership, said: “Road safety is one of four priorities in my Police and Crime Plan. 

“There are too many people being killed or seriously injured on Devon and Cornwall’s roads.

“By embracing new technology such as the Acusensus system, we have the opportunity to improve compliance with these laws and consequently make our roads safer for everyone.”



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