It’s just not worth it. Before you start your journey, put your phone away in the glovebox or somewhere you cannot reach it so the temptation is not there. If it’s an emergency, make sure you pull in and stop the car before making that call.

Supt Adrian Leisk, Strategic Roads Policing lead for Devon & Cornwall Police

Mobile Phone Use – AI cameras in use to tackle driver distraction

It’s a modern-day scourge – mobile phone use while driving is dangerous, illegal and a risk to all road users. It’s also one of the two most common offences identified by the National Highways Operation Tramline cabs.

It’s an issue that fleet and transport managers need to address as part of their driving for work policies, and as part of their duty of care to their employees and, of course, the wider public.

Cameras watching your drivers

This new camera system is called Acusensus and is currently being trialled in Devon and Cornwall. It uses Artificial Intelligence to identify drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel. The technology also detects whether drivers are wearing a seatbelt. Not wearing a seatbelt is the second of the two most common offences seen by the commercial incident prevention team at National Highways in their Operation Tramline cabs.

As you may expect, this technology can measure the speed of the vehicle as well, so there is plenty of information on driver behaviour. Any images that could reveal an offence are then reviewed by a human. If an offence has been correctly identified, the driver will either be sent a warning letter or a notice of intended prosecution, depending on the severity.

Fleet Managers – are your drivers aware of the penalties?

It’s illegal to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving, or riding a motorcycle. This means you must not use a device in your hand for any reason, whether online or offline. For example, you must not text, make calls, take photos or videos, or browse the web.
The law still applies to you if you’re:

  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • supervising a learner driver
  • driving a car that turns off the engine when you stop moving
  • holding and using a device that’s offline or in flight mode

Driver distraction – penalties for your employees

A driver can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if they hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send and receive data while driving, or riding a motorcycle. They can also lose their licence if they passed their driving test in the last 2 years. They can get 3 penalty points if they do not have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

They can also be taken to court where they can:

  • be banned from driving or riding
  • get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)

You can read more on the Vision Zero South West website here

There’s also a good video for you to share with your drivers when explaining how their driving will be monitored in the future.



Simon Turner

Simon Turner
Campaign Manager
Driving for Better Business

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