UK's first free-standing AI road safety camera in Cornwall catches 300 drivers in three days

People have been caught using mobile phones whilst driving, and not wearing seatbelts. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

An artificial intelligence road safety camera has caught out 300 drivers in just three days.

The camera on the A30 near Launceston is the first of its kind to be used in the UK. In just three days, it's photographed hundreds using phones or not wearing their seatbelts.

Last year, Vision Zero South West conducted a 15-day trial of the camera system from tech firm Acusensus. The trial detected 590 seatbelt and 45 mobile phone offences across various roads in both Devon and Cornwall.

The new free-standing system can be easily moved and therefore used at various locations across Devon and Cornwall, providing 24/7 monitoring.

Although the camera uses AI to detect potential offences, all images are 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.

People have been caught using their phones whilst driving, and not wearing seatbelts. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Adrian Leisk, road safety head for Devon and Cornwall Police, hopes the technology will help send a clear message to the minority of motorists who continue to break the rules. 

He said: “When we trialled this technology last year, we were disappointed by the number of drivers detected not wearing seatbelts - particularly as we continue to see serious and fatal collisions involving people who were not wearing seatbelts, a third of all fatal collisions in 2021 involved someone who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

“The early results from our latest deployment show that there is also a problem with mobile phone use behind the wheel, which is both dangerous and illegal.

“While we know the majority of drivers in Devon and Cornwall are safe, respectful and conscientious motorists, sadly there is a minority who are still putting people’s lives at risk.

“We are employing this new technology to send a clear message to anyone who continues to use their phone behind the wheel – you will get caught.

“Whether it’s by the Acusensus cameras, a passing officer or on video footage submitted through Op Snap, the result will be the same and you will end up with a hefty fine and six penalty points – which could be enough to cost some drivers their license and livelihood.

“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."