Signs to catch drivers on their phones

Driver on their mobile phone (library pic) Credit: PA

Groundbreaking new technology is to be rolled out in Sussex to tackle the problem of drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel.

The Vehicle Activated Sign has been funded by Sussex Safer Roads Partnership for use by Brighton and Hove City Council.

The technology works by detecting the use of mobile phones within vehicles whenever they drive past a sign.

However, unlike speed cameras, the VAS cannot record the driver's details at this stage so there are unlikely to be any direct prosecutions.

Although it's been illegal to use a mobile while driving for 14 years, many people are still ignoring the ban.

The technology is to be trialled in the Brighton and Hove district to begin with. The technology will be deployed across Sussex and possibly further afield if the trial is successful.

Driver on their mobile phone (library pic) Credit: PA

An Institute of Advanced Motorists survey questioned 500 people:

  • 18% claimed to have accessed the internet while driving (27% of those aged 18-24 years, and 34% aged 25-34 years)

  • 8% of those questioned admitted to driving while using a video application such as FaceTime and Skype to make and receive video calls, rising to 16% among those age 18-24 years.

  • 7% admitted to watching videos and ‘catch-up television’ while driving - rising to 13% of those aged 18-24 years and 15% of 25-32 year olds.

  • 9% of all respondents admitted to taking a ‘selfie’ while driving in the last month. This increased to 15% of respondents aged 18-24 years, and 19% of those aged 25-35 years 5% of female respondents admitted doing so, compared to 12% of males.